GCF (greatest common factor) and spending 'too much time' on math topics. These are the middle school math ideas I'm thinking about today.
There were times during the school year when I'd think I had spend too much time on a math topic….not because the kids seemed bored with it or anything like that, but because I had to get so many concepts covered that I was afraid I’d run out of time (I'm sure you know the feeling!).
So, spending more time than I was “supposed to” occasionally stressed me out. But most of the time, I was glad I spent so much time on some concepts, even though I appeared to be “behind” when talking with other teachers about where we were in the curriculum.
For example, before a holiday break one year, we worked on finding GCF (greatest common factor). Prior to 6th grade, most of the students had only been taught one method to find GCF: listing out the factors.
Day 1 of GCF Review
On our first day back, we briefly reviewed the methods and then I had the students:
1) Partner up (using the equivalent expressions partnering cards for extra reinforcement of that concept!) and
2) Write short paragraphs to explain each method (and include their own examples).
Day 2 of GCF Review
The following day, with the same partners, the students started their GCF Footloose task cards. The task cards required students to:
BUT, as I listened to my students’ discussions, class after class, I decided that we definitely needed to finish the next day.
And I definitely needed to continue to spend the same amount of time on topics that I had been spending, in all the different ways I employed, because what I heard from observing students confirmed that spending this time is what's best for them. I heard:
Was the extra time I spent on GCF and other math topics worth it? Absolutely!
GCF Task Cards
To check out the Greatest Common Factor task cards, which has 2 sets of cards, for differentiation purposes, click the link below.
GCF & Factors Footloose Task Cards
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Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!