Try, Try Again

My grade 2’s are on day 5 of the Context for Learning unit called The Double Decker Bus. We’ve been working on the unit for 3 weeks, and I’m not being dramatic – 3 weeks…day 5.

We just can’t seem to wrap our heads around this bus problem. There are only 20 seats on the bus (10 on the top deck, 10 on the bottom). Today one group wrote as a possible configuration for 10 people on the bus: 10+10+10= 30. And they weren’t even joking. Tomorrow I’m going to find some real-life photos of double decker buses to show them, and see if that helps. It’s as if they are all from India, picturing a bus with people hanging off in every direction. Or maybe that’s what school bus rides are like these days.

It’s had me thinking a lot about a few things. First, this is a grade 1 unit. I thought I was starting in a good place based on previous place value work. I thought we were ready to start adding & subtracting. I thought wrong. Or at least a little bit wrong. We’re still having counting problems for crying out loud! And even though everyone can subitize groups of 5 or smaller, we love counting by ones so much we just can’t stop! An understanding of part/part/whole relationships is not coming easily. So that’s why we’re making such slow progress. We’ve had to delay our bus a few times because the understanding hasn’t been there.

Then I think about how easy it would be to move on. I could do it, you know. Just start teaching geometry on Monday and get on with my life. But I think we’re on the edge of a breakthrough. Wish me luck!