In our school division we have PAAL schools. The teachers in these schools will choose a goal and work with coaches and superintendents towards the achievement of their goal throughout the school year. When contemplating an area I would like to grow in, my passion (math) and my desired area of growth (FNIM incorporation into teaching) melded. Therefore, my focus this year is ways to incorporate FNIM (First Nation, Inuit, Metis) content into mathematics. The purpose of this blog is to share ideas, thoughts, lessons and methods I've tried in my classroom.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Factor Fishing

When in Saskatoon a few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and found an article that inspired me.

"Add some culture, subtract the boredom"

In this article, math teacher and statistician Stavros Stavrou teaches a concept in the context of fishing.  This made me think that fishing could be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada ( fishing was an important food resource for First Nation groups in Canada.  So to build upon these two ideas, I figured my students could fish for factors in their multiplication unit.

Prior to starting the activity, we discussed how First Nations hunted, gathered and fished as a way to sustain a living.  Also, that they used all parts of an animal, nothing was wasted.

To make the fish, I used salmon fish clipart and (as grade 3 in Saskatchewan looks at multiplication up to 5x5), assembled packages where there were one 0 and two each of the numerals 1 through 5 labelled on salmon fish cards.
(Salmon is also the symbol of Persistence).

On the backs of each card I fastened a magnet which could then be picked up (reeled in) with natural made fishing rods (wooden dowel, string, magnet).

We start our multiplication unit (focusing on equal groups) with the picture strategy.  So for our activity, students fished for two factors.  They then had to represent their factors with the picture multiplication strategy accurately.  We did this in partners with one person fishing for the factors, and the other using the strategy to find the product. The fisher then checked their partner's work for accuracy.  They then switched who was fishing and repeated the activity.

The students really enjoyed this activity.  It was a great way to meld First Nation cultural awareness, multiplication and fun into one!  We will be using this activity again in the future with other multiplication strategies.  I'd also like to create "product" fish to be used for our division unit.

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