Lakennia Cole's Sample Writing

Lakennia Cole’s Unit of Study: Problem Solving using “Uncle Andy Strategy

Learning how to develop writing skills needed to problem solve in mathematics can be complex for many learners. Reading and writing are essential skills needed for learners to understand the concepts and problem solve in mathematics. It is imperative that all mathematicians have the ability to communicate by writing clearly and effectively. In order for these actions to take place learners must develop and apply strategies that can demonstrate their understanding of the mathematical skill they are examining. One misconception made by educators is the thought that all students have learned how to write effectively. However most students’ writing abilities are formulated within literacy boundaries, in which they do not know how to apply the skills to mathematics. Students need to be able to apply their knowledge, by writing reflections and questions to deepen their understanding.

In order to help students develop the strategies needed to apply to any mathematical skill, instructors must develop, guide and implement writing strategies that are effective in mathematics. The responsibility of instructors are to explain the purpose and help the student apply it to real-world applications. Create and model through the use of  “Think Aloud,” “Think Turn and Talk,” “The Big Idea,” note taking, writing reflections of their understanding, the use of appropriate mathematical vocabulary, questioning, sequential listing and other appropriate strategies while and during the writing process.

During the writing process students need a structured writing guide to help them organize their learning that includes writing personal note taking thoughts. The writing strategy should include a step-by-step format that allows the students to connect what they have learned to writing. When implementing the writing strategy, guide the students to select the appropriate strategy for each skill through modeling and include practicing examples with students. Ensure that students meet all expectations when completing the strategies and observe that students do not exclude any steps.  Utilizing peer sharing can help students to recognize and learn from others by viewing and making reflections about the work of their peers. The following structured writing guide is an example of how students can use specific strategy to problem solve.

Strategy: Problem Solving using “Uncle Andy Strategy” 

“Uncle Andy Planted Eleven Slimy Eggs”

Word Problem: Three second grade classes decided to go on a field trip to the Science museum. The museum rules states that for group tours there can only be 12 students in each group. Class A has 22 students, class B has 18 students and class C has 20.

Question: How many groups will there be In all?

U-Understand the problem—Students will read the question at least two times to obtain a clear understanding of the information and what they are needing to solve.

  • Find the number of touring groups.

A-Analyze the problem--- Students will write notes to organize the mathematical information

  • 3 classes  “A” 22 “B” 18 “C” 20    Each group can only have 12 students

P- Plan how to solve – Students will determine will they add, subtract, multiply or divide

  • Add to find the total number of students
  • Divide/share put the students In groups of 12

E-Estimate to solve Students will use this method to determine reasonability

  • 22-20  18-20  12-10

S-Solve the problem—Students will solve the problem using the steps in planning how to solve

  • 22+18+20= 60     60 divide by 12= 5 groups
  • Students can also draw an illustration of  5 groups with 12 items in each group

E-Examine/and/or Extend –Students will review their problem and check their answers

  • Use a check list are Acronyms to ensure each steps were take UAPESE

Extension to the problem and lesson

  • Students can explain how they solved the problem with a peer and show their illustrations
  • Students can complete a checklist to show all the steps used
  • Students can create additional problems for a peer to solve

Writing within mathematics and other discipline areas enhance the learning abilities of students. Using a structured guided method provides the foundation for students to be effective writers. Implementing writing in all discipline helps the students improve their writing skills. Overall including writing in all discipline areas help students to become affluent readers, thinkers, and communicators. The knowledge and application of writing prepares students the ability to apply deepen skills such as critical thinking, the ability to analyze text, word problems, applications of skills needed to be successful students and mathematicians.