Sorting number expressions

One of the ways to help students to make connections among concepts is to give them problem solving tasks that have many correct solutions or answers. Another way is to make sure that the solutions to the problems involve many previously learned concepts. This is what makes a piece of knowledge powerful. Most important of all, the tasks must give the groundwork for future and more complex concepts and problems the students will be learning. These kinds of task need not be difficult. And may I add before I give an example that equally important to the kind of learning tasks are the ways the teacher  facilitates or processes various students’ solutions during the discussion.

I would like to share the problem solving task I made to get the students have a feel of the existence negative numbers. We tried these tasks to a public school class of 50 Grade 6 pupils of average ability and it was perfect in the sense that I achieved my goals and the pupils enjoyed the lessons. This lesson was given after  the lesson on representing situations with numbers using the sorting task which I describe in my post on introducing positive and negative numbers.

Sorting is a simple skill when you already know the basis for sorting which is not case in the task presented here. Read more of this post

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