Thinking Conceptually About Math Symbols

This week KB started to explore Symbols. As we approach the time of year where we begin to ask students to use mathematical symbols such as + and – , we first wanted to approach these symbols from a more broad perspective. Some objectives from this week’s inquiry has been to :

– figure out what symbols are

-identify symbols we already know and use in our environment

-learn about the history of mathematical symbols

-think critically about why certain symbols represent certain meanings

-identify the meaning of the + and = symbol and why they are the picture that they are

-use the + and = symbol correctly without numbers, but simply as: + means joining together, = means the same as

Exploring these ideas before writing equations with numbers or just solving them from memory allows students to understand the meaning of the symbols they are using so that when they come to challenging problems later on they have a deeper understanding of what they are doing and why and can apply this understanding to new problems.

We went through a process together to explore, learn, and create using mathematical symbols. On SeeSaw you will see your child has posted one of the creations they thought of using these two symbols. Below are photos of the whole class process. You can click this link to see the video we watched which gave us some understanding as to why mathematicians began using symbols (vpn required):  

Our class was particularly interested in learning about currency symbols from different countries

upside down 🙂

As a whole class we created this mystery problem that also showed our knowledge of what things need to grow. If you know the answer, dont tell your child!

Students went off to write their own combinations. “Baby plus mommy equals love”- I.P.

“Ice cream plus ice cream equals giant ice cream”

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