Daily Data

There are several strategies for teaching mathematics in the primary grades. Burton (2010) describes the strategy of a daily data activity in which the teacher uses a chart or graph to record class data. The data comes from children’s lives, for example, graphing the number of siblings of each child in the class. Daily data engages students because the data being collected is from their lives, it is authentic to the students. The process of collecting data can be a wonderful opportunity to facilitate collaboration among students and provide opportunities for them to help one another with the task of gathering data (p. 92). While daily data should begin as a whole group activity, the learning could be extended by having students create a graph or the information in a math journal. By writing number sentences about the data collected, student can further extend their understanding. These extensions move children beyond collecting and analyzing data to increase conceptual understanding of the various representations of numbers (p. 93).

Writing About Math

In addition to talking about math problems and concepts, it is also important to write about math. According to Baxter (2008), math teachers are now expected to teach their students how to write and explain math

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Because problem solving is an excellent vehicle for developing understanding, collaboration with peers to solve authentic, real-life problems can be a very engaging math strategy (Zemelman, Daniels, & Hyde, 1996, p. 115). With this in mind, Burton (2010) suggests children work in groups to examine math problems that are based on real life situations. Children can build on knowledge from previous lessons learning and discuss problem-solving strategies. Working collaboratively with peers to solve problems can lead to deeper understanding and increased engagement (p.