My first I-THINK I Can Problem Solve activity! As I expected, it was kind of a disaster. The students are new to this type of thinking and responding, and I most certainly am new to this kind of teaching. But, I expected that, so I just focused on what I was learning to do next time.

The main thing was that no matter how much scaffolding I did, the students did not understand the question, which also explains why some (and some of my brightest) seemed disengaged. They thought the Coconut Problem was a simple question (7 coconuts times 3 sailors plus the 3 thrown to the monkeys is 24), so they stopped thinking and processing. It was only when I went around and questioned them (How are you accounting for the coconuts the sailors stole?) that they started to see the scope of the problem.

I also found it difficult to explain what I meant by “different methods to solve.” In third period, I gave examples of write an equation, draw a picture, guess and check. So they all parroted that without understanding what those things meant. In fourth period I gave the general example of “Three methods for gassing up my car would be: go to a gas station, siphon some gas from someone else, refine my own gasoline.” That seemed to confuse things even more.

I definitely will keep doing this. My goal is twice a month. Hopefully, together, both the students and I will get better at it.

Also, I am out of my orthopedic “boot” and back in shoes today!