My second annual “intro to math week” just concluded, and all in all I’d say things went well. Starting on the first day, I set up eight stations around the classroom, each corresponding with a different common core standard.

In case you’re not as focused on those as I’m trying to be this year, I’ll note the standard as I describe each station.

#### 1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

This station was a list of number and letter puzzles that students needed to decode. I’ve heard it called the mental flexibility test. For example, 7 W of the W would stand for “7 wonders of the world.” A handful of the kids got all of these with little trouble, and several were entirely lost. I distinctly remember being handed a sheet of these in sixth grade and being very mad about 57 H V because I hated ketchup and there would be absolutely no way I could have gotten that one.

#### 2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

I filled a jar of jelly beans and asked them to estimate how many were in there. The vast majority of students guessed about 100 too few jelly beans, but a couple of them had guesses in the 1000’s, so the average was still eerily close to the real answer. Ironically, I failed at quantitative reasoning when I purchased the jelly beans, buying over twice as many as I really needed.

#### 3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Here I found some statements containing logical fallacies and asked students to say where the logic broke down. I made sure to let the classes know we’d be doing proofs – this year 3/4 of them will be.

#### 4. Model with mathematics.

I got this great problem from nrich, walk and ride.

#### 5. Use appropriate tools strategically

This standard is really important, but mainly requires students to properly apply a new strategy they’ve encountered or that I’ve shown them, perhaps in a new situation. I do really like this as a concept, and I’m sure it will happen, but it’s not really something that can be done as a station – it’s kind of a long-term thing. So I decided to focus on the “strategically” part of the standard, and asked them to play the dots and boxes game and note an effective strategy. Here’s a cool website where you play a computer – good luck, because it is formidable.

#### 6. Attend to precision.

For this one they had to cut a strip of cardboard to fit perfectly inside one of the circles in the back of my chairs without bending. Shockingly few rulers were used during this station.

#### 7. Look for and make use of structure.

I made an IRL version of this NLVM manipulative, fill and pour. The downside: my cups do not actually hold the number of ounces I labeled them as, so what was supposed to be 1 ounce was half the 5-ounce glass. This may have thrown them off, I’ll admit. Next time I may just set up my laptop with the virtual one – and that way when they get the answer there’s a duck!

#### 8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

I made my sweet little tower of Hanoi.

One of the pegs fell out, but one of the students kindly taped it up with a significant amount of masking tape. How sweet. This station went over well with the students because it’s so physical – I’ll have to keep that in mind.

This was good – students worked well together, got a lot accomplished, and seemed to feel comfortable with the difficulty level, regardless of prior knowledge or skill. I’m optimistic moving forward.