**Action Research Project: Using Number Talks to Improve Number Sense**

EDUC 698 Capstone Project

Susan Wilhelm

EDUC 698 Capstone Project

Susan Wilhelm

Determining the Topic

What is my focus?

What might I want to try out?

What am I seeking to change?

What IS number sense?

Number sense "refers to a child's fluidity and flexibility with numbers, the sense of what they mean, and an ability to perform mental mathematics" with intuitive understanding (Gersten & Chard, 2001, para 15).

What are number talks?

"Number talks can be best described as classroom conversations around purposefully crafted computation problems that are solved mentally" (Parrish, S., 2010 p. xviii).

Data Collection & Analysis

A triangulation of both quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered to determine the effect of daily number talks on number sense, use of strategies, and participation.

Make the Research Public

Choose a starting point

Explore and consider:

Scope for action

Relevance

Manageability

Compatibility

(Altricher, et al, 1993)

After weighing my options, I determined my topic for classroom action research is...

**The effect of number talks on number sense**

Research questions

Can number sense be improved with daily number talks?

Can number talks increase students' use of math strategies?

Will implementing number talks increase student participation?

Why is number sense important?

Number sense is crucial to a child's understanding and mastery of number concepts.

"Longitudinal studies from Kindergarten to third grade suggests that foundational number sense supports the learning of complex mathematics associated with computation as as well as applied problem solving" (Jordan, 2010 para. 8).

number meaning

number relationships

number magnitude

operations involving numbers

referents for numbers and quantities

The National Council of Teachers identifies five components that characterize number sense:

"The problems in a number talk are designed to elicit specific strategies that focus on number relationships and number theory" (Parrish, p. xiii).

**What does the research suggest?**

The 3 principles at the heart of teaching number sense are:

1. activities for making connections

2. exploring and discussing concepts

3. ensuring an appropriate sequence of concepts

(Griffin, 2004, p. 42)

The

quantitative

data are the scores from the initial number sense screener, three bi-weekly number sense assessments, and a post-test.

The

qualitative

data will derive from the teacher Reflection journal that documents daily observations, anything unexpected, and changes in student understanding. The checklist is used to note student participation and use of strategies over the six week period.

**Data Analysis**

Assessment scores, checklist results, and observational notes in the Reflection journal will be analyzed and plotted on separate graphs.

Overall general scores will be plotted on a graph with a red line.

The section of the number sense assessment that deals solely with the use of strategies will be plotted on a separate graph with a blue line to show whether there has been an increase in the use of strategies.

By triangulating and analyzing the 3 sources of data, a pattern should emerge to answer each of the 3 research questions.

Expectations

What if...

*Student participation does not improve?

1. Provide separate, small group number talks.

2. Tailor the talks to be closely aligned to their level and ability.

What if...

*Number sense did not significantly improve?

1. Analyze the data again for a trend to determine cause. What specifically did not work? Was it a single area that did not improve, such as base ten understanding?

2. Back up and re-examine the sequence and pacing.

What if...

*Students' use of strategies did not increase?

1. Have students view videos of number talks given in a younger classroom, and discuss what they observe in the video.

2. Partner students together to work on coming up with different strategies to share with the class after "think" time is done.

Present results to the school principal, staff, and the district board of education.

Present results to local community via website.

Submit findings to educational journals and online publications.

References

Altrichter, et al, (1993). Teachers investigate their work: An introduction to number sense. New York, NY: Routledge

Gersten, R., & Chard, D. J., (2001). Number sense: Rethinking arithematic instruction for students with disabilities. Retrieved from www.Idonline.org/article/5838

Griffin, S., (2004). Teaching number sense. Educational Leadership, 61(5) 39-42.

Jordan, N., (2010). Early predictors of mathematics achievement and mathematic learning difficulties. Encyclopedia on Early childhood Development.

Math Solutions: Number talks helping children build mental math. Retrieved from Youtube.com/watch?v=la3_trsAnMs

Number talks - Third grade. Retrieved from Youtube.com/watch?v=ORnhd7yZ0XY

Parrish, S., (2010). Number talks: Helping children build mental math and computation strategies. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions

Now all that is left to do is...