Category

# Mental Math

During a Listening to Learn interview, when asked to figure out mentally the missing number in the problem 90 – ___ = 75, Meeyah and Rocco explained their reasoning in different ways. Listen to how they thought and how I used these two videos for a class lesson.
March 12, 2023
In a Listening to Learn interview, Nathan knew from memory that 6 x 5 equals 30. He explained to Rusty Bresser, "So, 6 divided by 2 equals 3, and you just add a zero behind it." Here's a suggestion for using that video clip in a lesson and what happened in two different classes.
February 22, 2022
I woke up early this morning, scanned Twitter, and was pulled in (as I always am) by Pam Harris’s Share Your Thinking problem. (Thanks, @pwharris!) Here’s how I responded and what I learned.
November 18, 2021
David Brooks wrote an opinion column in The New York Times on November 19, 2020, “Nine Nonobvious Ways to Have Deeper Conversations.” K–5 math wasn’t his focus or even hinted at in his message, but his suggestions jumped out at me as useful and important for connecting with students.
June 8, 2021
On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, I posted the sixth in my Wednesday Twitter series of video clips from Listening to Learn math interviews. The response to this Tweet amazed me―it received over 100,000 impressions! I was appreciative of the many supportive and insightful replies. Read more.
May 11, 2021
Asking students to solve problems mentally, without paper and pencil, is always revealing and often surprising. I thought that asking students to solve 100 ÷ 3 would be sort of a slam dunk. My, was I wrong!
April 8, 2021
Good Questions for Math Teaching is a Math Solutions book that has long been one of my favorites. It’s a resource that I dip into when I feel the need for something fresh. And it speaks directly to our current shelter-in-place coronavirus crisis as many of us look for ways to mathematically engage students online, children at home, or both. Here are samples to get you started. I’ll continue to post more ideas on Twitter (@mburnsmath).
March 17, 2020
I’m often surprised by what I learn when I interview students. Watch this 46-second video clip of Jonah solving 100 ÷ 3. Then read how I used the clip in a lesson with a class of fifth graders, and also read the letters the students wrote to Jonah.
February 18, 2020
Last year, I agreed to meet with a friend’s sixth-grade son. Oscar’s math teacher had raised an alarm for my friend and her husband about Oscar’s math progress. They were shocked. Oscar did his homework and was proficient with paper-and-pencil math. What was the problem?
February 19, 2019