Math Empowers 5

Middletown Township Public Schools

Fifth Grade • 3rd Trimester • 2018-2019

The final trimester brings 5th graders into the topics of geometry and volume, converting between different units of measure, and algebra patterns and graphing. Read on for some ideas for these areas of focus.

Procedural Understanding vs Conceptual Understanding

Students often perform mathematical tasks without true understanding of what or why they are doing them. Performing procedures for tasks is very different than understanding the task itself. Take, for example, the problem 4 3/4 - 2 1/2; would students be able to obtain the correct difference presented in a real-world application, such as how far apart are these distances listed on a freeway sign? Consider this when launching a new concept - can this topic be presented in a real world-application first, to obtain the conceptual understanding prior to building procedural understanding? "Procedural skill is still an essential piece but it is just as important as developing their conceptual understanding and the ability to apply mathematics. Often times we teach students how to do mathematics with the belief that they will be able to apply it when the moment comes." This is not always the case. To read more about this idea, please read these eye-opening articles, here and here.

20 Days of Number Sense & Rich Math Talk (K-12)

Steve Wyborney (creator of many popular numbers sense routines for K-12), has just finished and released a project that took him 7 months to complete. It's called 20 Days of Number Sense & Rich Math Talk - 20 days of lessons that give students a really good opportunity to experience number sense - and to experience very rich math discourse. He leveled the lessons so that they are available and accessible to ALL elementary students.

Included in this project are 4 different activities (and 5 days of each activity). Here is the breakdown:

Days 1-5: Estimation Clipboard

Days 6-10: Splat Activities

Days 11-15: Esti-Mysteries

Days 16-20: Cube Conversations

Your students will LOVE these activities...ask your math specialist if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Fact Fluency

During this last trimester, students find their focus shifts from traditional number sense topics to Geometry and Measurement. Consider building in some routines to foster fluency in topics recently covered, such as multiplying and dividing decimals and fractions. Here are some ideas to build into your classroom routines:

MUST See: Graham Fletcher's Progression Videos

Graham Fletcher's Progression videos for multiplication, division, and fractions will guide educators as plans are created to meet the needs of students within the learning continuum of such topics. To learn more, click here.

New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, formerly known as PARCC

Fifth grade students will soon be taking the NJSLA. Consider showing students these NJSLA practice tests to bolster confidence with the format and types of questions they will encounter. For more, click here.

Follow Dan Finkel on Twitter! @MathforLove

Have you seen Dan Finkel’s TEDx talk? If not, click here: Five Principles of Extraordinary Math will soon be hooked! After obtaining his PhD in mathematics, Dan became dedicated to understanding and teaching the motivation, history, aesthetics, and deep structure of mathematics. Like many of us, Dan has made it his goal to “give everyone the chance to fall in love with mathematics.” Check out, where you can find a free lesson library and information about learning through play with two great games called Prime Climb & Tiny Polka Dot, both of which foster a love for mathematics.

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Thank you for reading! :)

Have any questions, comments, or great ideas to share with your fellow 5th-grade teachers – please email me, or your building Math Specialist. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

Ashley Connors

Elementary Mathematics Specialist

Navesink Elementary School

Math Empowers - Fifth Grade Representative