Monday, 2 February 2015

Using google docs for collaborative learning in mathematics

During today's lesson with my Grade 6 class, we were looking at finding factors and multiples of specific numbers. As we were looking at finding factors, one of my students posed the question: Would an even number always have an equal number of factors? Equally: Would an odd number have an odd amount of factors?

What a brilliant question and exactly the example of how we would like MYP students to inquire into mathematics. My response was - Great!!! Let's look at what you are asking as a class together. 

We quickly made a google doc and started looking at factors. Here is an image of the work in progress:

After finding the first eighteen factors, we looked to see if it holds true, and we highlighted the outliers (as seen below). Factors of 4 was the first exception (highlighted in orange) and we suggested that maybe it is the exception to the rule. We looked further at the factors, and found that it was true for all the other factors, except for 15 and 16 as seen below: 

Thus, as a class today, through a great inquiry a student posed, we learned so much - it was a quick visual for me to see who understood the concept of factors (as they were doing it live on my screen); students inquired into a fellow classmate's question and students discussed prime factors (having only 1 and the number itself as factors) and it was a wonderful collaborative learning opportunity where we could investigate and find that there was not a pattern holding true for all factors. 

My students reminded me again today that they have so much creativity and if I give them the opportunity to inquire and explore, they develop as confident mathematicians!

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