Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Building Higher Level Thinking Skills

One of my favorite tools for building higher level thinking skills in math is Marcy Cook Math Tiles.  Marcy has taught every grade level in classrooms around the world.  Her math activities are very innovative and require the children to think.  They also have to strategize to solve the problems.  

We work on Math Tiles for 30 minutes once a week.  We are usually working on 4 different math activities at one time.  The students are each given tiles that have the numbers 0 through 9 on them. 

Each activity has 20 different task cards.  The challenges start easy and get progressively harder.  Here are a few of my favorites for third graders.

Addition Balance Tiles - The top and bottom lines give the students hints on what numbers to use.  For example, the balance at the left of the top line tells the student that the number sentence on either side of the equal sign will equal 10.  Once the top and bottom equations are solved, they are left with 4 number tiles, in this case 4, 6, 7, and 8.  The last part of their task is to arrange these 4 numbers to make the equation true.  


Renaming Tiles - This group is more challenging.  There are two addition and two subtraction problems, with and without regrouping.  When we first started working on these, the students would often get stuck.  Now that we've been working on them for over a month, they have developed the strategies to solve this task. 

They can't wait to show that they have solved it all by themselves! Try this one!  
Completing Math Tiles is a great opportunity to involve parent-volunteers in your classroom.  They help to work with the children and check to see if their answers are correct.  The parents love it!

We are fortunate that our school has invested in this tool and we have many of the Math Tile activities.  However, they are very affordable at $15.00 per activity.  Tiling Task Card Packets include 20 unique task cards on card stock, 3 backdrop cards, tracking sheets, suggestions and answer sheets.  These are contained in a printed manila envelope for convenient storing.  A set of number tiles 0 - 9 is  needed for each task card.

Click HERE to see Marcy Cook recommendations for those who are buying Math Tiles for the first time.  

Do you use Marcy Cook Math Tiles?  I'd love to hear about how you use them in your classroom!

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