Friday, November 11, 2016

Collaborative Problem Solving Using Digital Manipulatives on the Chromebook

In math, students are working on writing their own math problems.  Sometimes, the students struggle with coming up with ideas.  To help the students generate ideas, we used digital manipulatives with partners to practice the process of creating word problems.  Students were asked to create a math problem and model the problem on the screen.  Their partner was to say the answer and tell the number sentence that they used to solve the problem.  Partners shared one Chromebook to complete this activity.

The digital manipulatives that we used were from McGraw-Hill Education.  We began the lesson with students using the playground as their background and modeling their problems with bears.  Once students were comfortable using the program, they were allowed to pick their own background and manipulatives.  The baseball field was a popular choice for the boys.

There are two important buttons on the toolbar that the students need to use.  The most important button is for the students to clear objects.  For some reason, the students always try to cover the screen with as many bears as possible.  Instead of removing the bears one by one, the bears can be removed with one quick button.  The other important button is to remove the background.

Students enjoyed exploring the different options that the program had to offer.  One group even set the timer for each other when it was time to solve the problem.

I should have modeled my expectations for creating word problems more for the students because there was a lot of off task behavior.  The students were playing with the digital manipulatives more than creating word problems.

About halfway through the project, I stopped the students and changed the directions.  I told the students that one student should have the Chromebook to themselves while they were designing the problem.  When they were finished setting the problem up, they should return to their partner and explain their problem to them.  This allowed the student to focus more on creating the problem and less time playing with their friend; however, the other student became bored while they were waiting for their partner to create the word problem.

Next time, I will allow both students to have their own Chromebook.  Each student can create a problem of their own with their own background and digital manipulatives.  When both students are finished creating, they can share their word problem with one another.

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