3 Strategies to Enhance Math Before Bed Discussions

Whether you are using the Math Before Bed prompts at home with your little ones or you use them in your class at school I think you’ll find these 3 strategies super duper useful to get the most out of your discussions.

My friend and fellow teacher Katie Bauml uses Math Before Bed prompts in her grade 2 class to create discussions in her math lessons. She says that we can get a lot of great thinking out into the open on spacial sense prompts using these three tips that can be summed up as: Visualize, Verbalize, and Verify. 

Katie shares with us a lesson plan that evokes visualizing, verbalizing, and verifying below. Her main lesson goal is “geometry and understanding that shapes and symmetry are everywhere” and the Grade 2 Ontario Math Curriculum: Geometry & Spacial Sense connection is
locate the line of symmetry in a two- dimensional shape.

Show: Display this video to the class. Ask your students to be ready to notice things and wonder things.

Notice & Wonder: Ask students What do you notice? What do you see? What do you wonder? Ask them to do this on their own first and after a few minutes ask them to share their notices and wonders with a partner. After a few minutes more bring the class together and ask students to share one at a time with class those notices and wonders. Record them on chart paper.
Note: It is important for maintaining a inclusive and safe learning space to record all of the notices and wonders said out loud and not to exclude any.

Now we want to narrow our discussion toward looking towards symmetry and lines of symmetry.

Show: This prompt from mathbeforebed.com.

Visualize: Ask your students to imagine and visualize what the other half would look like quietly on their own.

Verbalize: With a partner ask your students to explain what they saw.

Share: Select a few students to share their thinking with the whole class.

Verify: Pass out the share your thinking printout and have students draw their visualization on paper. (access the resources at the end of the post)

In Katie’s words, “We shared our verifications and what we did and why we did it. It’s not just about their solution its about how they got their solution and why they chose that path to their solution.”

Define Together: As a class make a note on symmetry and a lines of symmetry.

Practice: Have students keep drawing symmetric pictures.

Day 2: Lines of Symmetry

Show this prompt and ask Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Remember that each Which One Doesn’t Belong prompt is created so that there are no wrong answers as long as you have a reason. Read more here on wodb.ca

Here are possible answers related to symmetry you may want to discuss.
Top Left Corner: One line of symmetry (vertical).
Top Right Corner: Two lines of symmetry
Bottom Left Corner: One line of symmetry (horizontal).
Bottom Right Corner: No lines of symmetry.

Listen as your students give you reasons; there may be many.

Narrow down the discussion and look at the letter A with this picture.

Visualize: Ask your students to imagine and visualize the symmetry in this picture.

Verbalize: With a partner ask your students to explain what they see.

Share: Select a few students to share their thinking with the whole class.

Ask your students now to think of other letters that have one line of symmetry.

Verify: Pass out the share your thinking printout and have them draw more letters with one line of symmetry.

“What other letters have symmetry? What other letters do not? What letters have more than one line of symmetry?” Have your students show this on the page too.

Gallery walk: Put student thinking on display in a gallery walk. Ask your students to notice which letters have more than one line of symmetry, which have one, and which have none.

Next steps: Have your students find other objects in the room, at home, or outside that have lines of symmetry.

Read more about Visualize, Verbalize, Verify here

Access and download the video, prompt images, and printouts so you too can run this lesson with your students or at home with your little ones. Just enter in your email and I’ll email them directly to you. 


Looking for more Share Your Thinking Printouts? Get 40 More — all on Patterning & Algebra. Click here.

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