We have had such a good time with this block! I had forgotten how much fun it is.
For the past week we have been playing with our own form of currency in the class. We came up with the name “bongo” together as a class and I created the bills by photoshopping my photograph onto a dollar bill.
The students each get a salary for coming to school and they have to buy certain things — recess, a materials fee. They also have to pay fines for certain things — baby talk, being tardy, not staying on task. They are in a race to end up with the most bongos at the end of this week and one enterprising young man arrived at school with a batch of cookies to sell. So much fun.
This week I’m going to talk to them more about banking and how lending works. As part of that conversation we’ll learn our first formula — I = PRT — interest = principle X rate X time. We’re really starting to tackle the tough math.
Last week I had a bit of an epiphany with regards to mental math. We’ve been practicing converting percents to decimals to fractions and back again and though they’re getting it pretty well, I didn’t feel like any of them had the idea really solidly. Then, one day last week we played around the world. If you don’t know it, around the world is a mental math game where the students compete against each other. One student stands behind another and they each try to answer the problem I give before the other one does. Whoever solves first moves on to the next student and keeps going around the room as long as he or she solves first (hence the name). As we were playing this game I made the conversion problems progressively more difficult and I was astonished to see how much the competitive aspect helped. In the context of that game I was able to give conversion problems I never would have guessed they’d be able to solve, but they got them. I’m looking forward to playing with them more this week!