Notice and Wonder Part 2

Benefits of Notice and Wonder: 

Supports students to:

  • Connect their own thinking to the math they are about to do
  • Attend to details within the problem
  • Feel safe (no right answers or more important things to consider)
  • Slow down and think about the problem before starting to calculate
  • Record info that may be useful later
  • Generate engaging math questions that they are interested in solving
  • Identify what is confusing or unclear in the problem
  • Conjecture about possible paths for solving the problem
  • Find as much math as they can in a situation, not just the path to the answer

Notice and Wonder is a Habit of Mind

“Good problem solvers do this noticing quickly, automatically, then apply their ideas to the problem at hand.  Less experienced problem solvers focus on the question and try to remember “the way” or “the formula” they need to solve it.  They never do any “noticing” to help them connect the math of the story to the mathematical ideas that could help them find a solution path”

* Annie Fetter; I Notice, I Wonder; , Published on 29 Sep 2012

Try this in your classroom!  For example, take a typical word problem and remove the question.

  • Collect observations from students without judgement.
  • Ask students if they have any questions.  
  • Ask if students notice any discrepancies.
  • Ask everyone to explain important observations (i.e. ask questions that you suspect many students may not understand)
  • Ask students to pursue interesting “wonders”

Math Practice 1: Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them 

Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution…

Math Practice 2: Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively 

Mathematically proficient students make sense of quantities and their relationships in problem situations…Quantitative reasoning entails habits of creating a coherent representation of the problem at hand; considering the units involved; attending to the meaning of quantities, not just how to compute them; and knowing and flexibly using different properties of operations and objects.




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