Asking the question, “How many people are in your family?” led to multiple conversations in our classroom about numbers and families these past two weeks. Each student drew their family on an index card and then presented their family to the class. It was great to hear the comparative language students were using as they described their “place” in their family. Some stated they were the oldest, others the youngest and many were in the “middle” of their siblings.
We then taped the family pictures to the white board forming a graph according to the number of family members. After the graph was complete, students were asked to tell me what they noticed about it. From their observations we recorded true math statements as a way of representing mathematical information. Students noticed that:
- 11 students have 5 people in their family and 9 students have 6 people in their family
- 2 more students have 5 people in their family than 6
- the smallest family was 2 people and the largest family was 11 people
- the same number of students have 8 and 11 people in their family
- 2 more students have 4 people in their family than 8 and 11 people
- 2 less students have 6 people in their family than 5
It was so exciting to not only see the class interpreting the graph they made, but also using rich mathematical language to describe their observations.
As we continued to interpret our graph is became clear that the class was very interested in figuring out how many people were in all of their families and this question led into an exciting investigation of larger numbers!
In order to keep track of each family, students made a train out of snap cubes (one cube for each person in their family). We then snapped cubes together making sticks of 10, predicting along the way, how many people would be in all the families as we counted and recorded the numbers. In the end the class was amazed to find out there were 142 people in all of their families!
Be sure to check out our family graph and true math statements on our hallway bulletin board.