The Port Lesson: Grade 5 Mathematics Modeling for a Local Context

The Port Lesson: Grade 5 Mathematics Modeling for a Local Context

Charles B. Hodges (Georgia Southern University, USA), Edie R. Hipchen (Golden Isles Elementary, USA) and Traci Newton (Golden Isles Elementary, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6497-5.ch008


The authors present a grade 5 mathematics lesson that resulted from a grant-funded teacher professional development experience, which promoted inquiry learning approaches such as problem-based, project-based, place-based learning, and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. A local industry was incorporated into the lesson to provide a real-world context. Design decisions and a description of how technology was utilized in the lesson are provided. Reflections from the teachers delivering the lesson and recommendations for adaptations for other contexts are included.
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The CCSSM include Standards for Mathematical Practice (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012b). The eight standards of practice “describe varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students” (2012b). The standard of practice most relevant to this project is CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4 Model with mathematics:

Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. In early grades, this might be as simple as writing an addition equation to describe a situation. In middle grades, a student might apply proportional reasoning to plan a school event or analyze a problem in the community. By high school, a student might use geometry to solve a design problem or use a function to describe how one quantity of interest depends on another. Mathematically proficient students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. They routinely interpret their mathematical results in the context of the situation and reflect on whether the results make sense, possibly improving the model if it has not served its purpose (2012b).

The “life, society, and workplace” (2012b) aspect of this standard was addressed in the workshop by introducing the concepts of problem-based and place-based learning to the participants. Problem-based learning is a “learner-centered approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a defined problem.” (Savery, 2006, p. 9). Long-term retention, skill development, and student and teacher satisfaction have been found to be benefits of problem-based learning when compared with traditional forms of instruction (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009).

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