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Bears were numerically labeled AFTER the task

This whole “how to teach math without numerals” kick I’m on  is blowing my mind.  I tried this out in a 3rd grade class using one of my favorite problems.  Here’s how two students solved this problem and what’s awesome about it is that they used completely different strategies and manipulatives! What a way to end the week!!!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about you might want to read a previous post http://wp.me/p2ESf1-35.  What I found is that by removing numerals and “forcing” students to model with only manipulatives, it really gave them the opportunity to develop and verbalize their thinking. Without the use of numerals, the manipulatives helped students through their thought process when sharing their solution strategy!

Here’s the problem… but solve it without using numerals before checking the links:

In total, there were 48 kindergarteners AND first graders in the cafeteria. The kindergarteners left and 26 second graders came in. Now there are 54 students in the cafeteria. How many kindergarteners were in the cafeteria? How many first graders are in the cafeteria?

Two student solutions for the Cafeteria Problem: