Math Detectives on the Case!!

Math Detectives in the Classroom

We have been working very hard this year to become math detectives!!! Last year I was introduced to number talks and number strings and have incorporated these practices into our math learning. We have been having a lot of success with these so I thought....why not incorporate some of the skills that we are developing into other learning activities....and math detectives were born!!

An area I wanted to focus on this year was the mathematical process skills of reasoning and proving. While these are really important skills to develop as mathematicians I was having a hard time targeting and developing these skills with my first and second graders. Through number talks and number strings our ability to explain our thinking or strategy was improving but students were still having a hard time explaining how they knew an answer was correct and what to do if someone gave an incorrect answer or an answer they did not agree with. I have found that my students are much more willing to disagree with an answer when it does not belong to one of their classmates (no hard feelings in our math class!!). So to help my students develop their reasoning and proving skills we started working on questions where we knew there was an error and our job was to find it.

First we had to find out what math detectives did....

math detective anchor chart

Then we had to make our math detective journals....

math detective journal
Then we began working on finding errors. To begin I project one slide. We talk about what we are looking for, how to check the answers, what to do when we found the error and how to prove our case by explaining our thinking to our fellow detectives. After going through one slide on the first day students become more independent with the following five slides (there are 6 slides with a common type of problem). Here are some examples...

math detectives
math detectives

At the end of the week or into the second week (depending on our schedules!) we would move on to a word problem that built upon the skills we had been practising all week. We read through the problem together, discuss some possible strategies and how to "make our case".

Here is our success criteria....

math detective anchor chart
Here is a sample problem....

math detective word problem
Each student gets a copy of the problem so they can solve the case!!

math detective journal

We glue the weekly problems to the top of the folder. Sometimes I print out the daily slides and cut them into four pieces. Students select a piece and put a check mark if it is correct and an x if it is incorrect. They share their thinking with a partner and then with the class. We glue these on the bottom of our journals.

After completing all 7 sets of slides and problems it was official....we were math detectives. So we made ourselves into math detectives!!!

math detective craftivity
We have been having so much fun with this detective theme I decided to make our calendar cards for this month detectives....
detective calendar card freebie
 Click here to pick up a copy of the calendar cards.

If you want to check out the resources we used to become math detectives you can check them out here on TPT.

No comments

Back to Top