Math Explorations - Mid-Pacific Institute

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Math Explorations

Posted on October 25, 2017

by Kelly Tokuhama on October 25, 2017

Pondering possibilities, developing and testing hypotheses and strategies, playing games to strengthen skills, sharing thinking and wondering are all a part of your child's daily math experiences. Evidence of growing mathematical prowess becomes most evident when the children share their strategies and thinking orally or in writing. Our curricular resource, Math Investigations, promotes Mid-Pacific Institute's constructivist view that all learning is built from previous experiences and understandings. Students are challenged everyday to expand their thinking, use a diverse set of strategies, and articulate their ideas.

In this blog, Mrs. Oserow, first grade math teacher, and Ms. Tokuhama, second grade math teacher, will highlight current math experiences in each grade level.

A day in the life of a first grade mathematician...

Our 1st Grade mathematicians spent the beginning of our school year revisiting concepts and strategies introduced in Kindergarten. We then moved on to the challenges of interpreting and solving story problems, writing equations, developing and sharing a variety of strategies, and coming up with the most efficient ways to solve problems. Most of the children have moved beyond a strategy called "Counting All" to more efficient strategies like "Counting On". "Counting on" involves putting the the larger number in your head and then adding the smaller one using a variety of methods. Some children are already experimenting with numerical solutions and sharing them with the class.

The children finished a comprehensive geometry unit this week, which gave them practice in using attributes to sort, compose, decompose, describe, and categorize shapes. As they work on collaborative tasks, they engage in conversations which support development and use of conceptual vocabulary, such as sides, vertices, and quadrilaterals. It is wonderful to watch the depth of thinking that emerges as students articulate and justify their classifications with one another.


Each day students have the opportunity to put new strategies into practice and develop novel ways of collaborating through activities and games during math workshop. Math workshop incorporates familiar activities to solidify learning and exposes students to new content through interactive and fun games.


The students learn more than just math content, they learn to use positive interactions, to problem-solve with their peers, and to love mathematics!

A day in the life of a second grade mathematician...

Over the past few weeks, our second grade mathematicians have extended their understanding of basic geometry and fractions, and used critical thinking skills to solve addition and subtraction story problems. The students are also refining these strategies to demonstrate their individual thinking processes, as they solve these story problems.

Recently, the students have been identifying characteristics of 2D shapes (or planes) and 3D shapes inversely. They have also been identifying these shapes in a real-world setting, and are making real-life connections to these objects. You may have noticed them pointing out different objects around the house or in our community that resemble these shapes. Through their observations, the students have also used shapes as an introduction into fractions, otherwise known as parts of a whole. We have explored how to evenly share things in halves, thirds, and fourths, while applying some basic measurement skills to create these parts of a whole. In class we have used our math workshop time to apply these skills in various math activities, games, and discussions on a weekly basis.

In celebration of the Halloween season, the students have created festive story problems for addition and subtraction word problems. They have challenged themselves in using two and three-digit numbers, as well as using three addends in their equations. Take a look at the wonderful story problems they created below:

Emma Story Problems.jpg

Tanner Story Problem.jpg



Thank you for taking the time to review your child's class work each week. The extended conversations and games that have been played at home, are great tools to solidify your child's learning in mathematics!

Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday, Oct. 30- pumpkin carving activity (Thank you so much for your donations!)

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31- Spooktivity (please join us in the gym at 12:45pm)