Mathematicians in Room 123 have begun learning about different models that they can use to represent and solve problems. One of the most important models they will use is a math mountain, which shows a total at the top and two partners of the total below. Throughout the year, they will use math mountains to show the knowns and unknowns in various problem types and use that representation to decide upon efficient strategies for solving the problems.
It is critical that students have a deep understanding of this model, which was introduced in kindergarten. I used Oreo cookies to help them develop that understanding. As students munched on cookies, they considered how Oreos are similar to math mountains. Since many students twisted their cookies apart, it was easy to introduce the concept of splitting a whole into parts. From there, students made connections to the math mountain.
After working with math mountains for several days, students were challenged to determine if a given math mountain was accurate. From their journal responses, you can see they are beginning to use precise language to convince skeptics!
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