Mathematicians in third grade will develop their skills in three discrete areas – conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and habits of mind.
Through a variety of real world contexts, games, and authentic problems, students develop their conceptual understanding of:
-the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and their relationships to one another
-telling time and calculating elapsed time
-data representation and analysis
Through discussions and debriefs, students also investigate and explore a variety of models (i.e. pictures, number lines, arrays), strategies (i.e. skip-counting, partial products, etc.), and vocabulary that can illuminate mathematical concepts in more tangible ways.
Students take on a lot of the responsibility of learning through shares, discussions, debriefs, and debates. Often students will share different ways to solve problems, developing an ability to understand math concepts and approaches to problem-solving that are novel. It is an expectation that students learn from each other.
Habits of Mind
“There is no such thing as a math person.” That is something you might hear from Stanford professor Jo Boaler. At the beginning of the year, third graders talk about the misconception that some people just “aren’t good at math”. We spend the first few weeks of school thinking about students’ attitudes about math – identifying strengths and thinking about areas of growth to set goals for the year. We also begin to think about building a toolbox of habits that researchers have found to be particularly important to mathematical development. These habits include perseverance, strategic thinking, identifying and making use of patterns, problem-solving, and using models. Throughout the year, we highlight the importance of mathematical processes and having a growth mindset. Often the mathematical process is more important than the “right” answer, since the process is innately linked to conceptual understanding.