Monday, January 23, 2012

What do we do at Math Stations anyway?

We do Math Stations 3 mornings a week. I have the students in groups of 3 and they do 3 stations per day. The stations are in math tubs and each tub covers different prescribed learning outcomes (otherwise known as plo's). Some tubs involve games. I love that the students love playing the math games and don't even realize that they are practicing math skills! Others involve pencil and paper jobs. These are great because I can really differentiate activities and have a written sample of how they are doing.
Here is a sampling of what some of the tubs look like this week:

This is a game where we practice adding doubles. Being able to know that 4+5 is really only 4+4 plus 1 more is a great strategy for addition. Or that 4+3 is the same as one less than 4+4 for subtraction. It is played kind of like BINGO only there is no caller. Instead, you roll a dice, double the number rolled and try to get 5 in a row.

 Here we are playing Domino Parking Lot. Each player takes a domino from the tub and adds the two sides together. Then they place the domino in the correct "parking space" that has the sum. The objective is to fill your parking lot first.

Here is a 2-D shapes activity. Some cards come with the shapes in them and students have to rebuild the shape but other cards are more challenging with only the outline of the shape and a list of shapes needed to created the final product. Students are expected to work with the cards that challenge them. No easy, peasy, lemon squeezy choices allowed!!!!

This is a patterning job. It is not actually the one we are doing this week. It is from last week when students were making matching mittens that had to have a pattern of some sort. Other weeks this tub has different patterning and sorting activities. Students are expected to challenge themselves to create more complex patterns. For example, I expected the grade 2's to do more than just a simple ABAB pattern on their mittens. They had to have at least 3 colours and more things going on in their patterns.  

This tub has math fact practice booklets in it. Each student has a booklet for the level they are currently working on. Some only have addition. Others have addition and subtraction. One of our other paper and pencil tubs has printing practice and set making activity booklets.
Some days I work at a tub and teach each group a new game. This gives me a chance to watch each student and see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. (This helps me to form groups and activities for the next week) Other days I pull a group of students for a particular math activity like beginning addition with regrouping. The math groups change weekly. Sometimes I put 3 students together who are all working on the same skill. Sometimes I mix up the students so that they can better learn from each other. The activities and groups are always changing and evolving depending on the needs and abilities of the students.

So, there you have it. Math Stations 101! This is probably my favourite way to teach math (and, believe you me, I have tried more than a few!)  The students are independent workers, I get to work with small groups and there are a number of activities each day. In between the tubs we meet at the carpet for an Energy Blast (or 4) and then some Calendar pages on the Smartboard. I am able to introduce new concepts to the whole class through the Calendar before putting out games or activities using the concepts in the tubs.

Ms. Hughes

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