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Transcript of Math Congress
Amanda, Laura, Shelly and Stephanie
The Role of the Teacher
-to introduce the students to the idea of the Math Congress
-to guide groups during collaboration time and scaffold their learning
-to facilitate conversations and keep students actively participating
-to observe student contributions
-to consolidate a Three-Part Lesson on problem solving
-to focus on big ideas
-to create a list of prompting questions and visual/verbal cues to communicate to the students their progress
-to provide each group with their own copy of the problem to improve accessibility
-to create a problem that can be solved in a variety of ways as well as presolve the problems anticipating students' strategies
-to model the types of questions asked
-to create an anchor chart with relevant math terminology
-to set clear goals and expectations
The Role of the Student
-to actively participate, listen and communicate ideas with the group
-to work with their partner/group and make contributions to the task
-to ask questions and engage in a debate/discussion over strategies
-to be open to other ideas - no fixed mindsets
-to test, try and discover efficient strategies
-to reference anchor chart or question cards to guide and aid their communication
A Math Congress should be two periods in length. Students work together in pairs (on chart paper) to solve the given problem. Students then have a mini-congress to meet with a few other students and discuss their ideas and ask questions. From there, a few student pairings are chosen to present, support and defend their choice of strategy in front of their peers creating a whole class discussion. Only a few different strategies are chosen in hopes to create more indepth discussions within the class.
Why Choose a Math Congress?
A Math Congress will only work with open ended problems that can be solved in a variety of ways. Students will be more engaged if it is a problem that is directly linked to their lives.
Choose a Math Congress when you want your students to focus on the reasoning behind solving the problem, NOT on fixing their mistakes. A Math Congress promotes communication.
To get students having an indepth conversation about the strategies chosen to solve a mathematical problem.
The student led discussion should create a deeper understanding of different strategies, mathematical concepts and thinking.
The Main Goal
A Brief History
The Math Congress was developed in 2002 by Fosnot and Dolk through research done in various urban schools and various grades.
Fosnot and Dolk claim students should have a wide variety of strategies to call on when solving problems, and that the problems they should be learning to solve are those that are closely tied to their real lives.
Fosnot and Dolk consider doing math "mathematizing" or seeing all lifes problems as math equations. If students can learn different strategies and understand that the strategies can be applied to different problems, students will become more critical thinkers.
-keeping the students engaged and actively participating
-giving every student an opportunity to share their thoughts/opinions
-getting students into the routine
-getting the students to formulate good questions
A successful Math Congress may not take place in its first implementation. A successful Math Congress is one where students know what is expected of them, and how to formulate questions that promote discussion.
It is important to create spaces in the room for the partner work and mini-congress space to take place, as well as a larger gathering area for the presentation of ideas to the whole class. Carpet/circle time may be beneficial for students to share as a group.
Co-creating criteria for what a successful Math Congress looks like is important so that the students understand what is expected. Creating successful student pairings and setting clear timeline expectations at the beginning of the class will help guide the students' progress. It might be helpful to all read the problem together and ask/answer any questions that may promote student understanding. If students are placed in groups of 4s instead of pairs, providing students with specific roles within the group may eliminate students not actively participating.