Math Lunch is an opportunity for students who are interested in mathematics to get together with other math enthusiasts to work on math challenges. Most 2-3 and 4-5 students have participated in a math lunch over the past three weeks. Lower School Director Anne Hopkins, Math Department Chair Lisa Kramer, 2-3 Learning Specialist Heather Tanguay, and all 2-3 and 4-5 advisors have supported the Math Lunch program and participated in the numeracy fun.
Math Lunch problems are designed to be accessible to all students (i.e., it is important that everyone who is interested in participating is able to understand the problem of the day). At the same time, we choose problems that allow for extension and challenge for students who have stronger number sense and computational fluency. Pebble Math required students to place “pebbles” within five zones whereby the sum of each two adjacent zones was a given number. Pebble Math encourages students to solve the problem using actual pebbles—in our case, mini pasta shells—allowing for quick engagement with the work. Most children worked with a guess-and-check approach, placing a few pebbles in a zone and then adjusting as the numbers indicated. Students immediately started noticing patterns, developing theories, and making predictions based on experimentation. Pebble Math was a big hit in 2-3.
We recently introduced 4-5 Math Lunch students to Ken-Ken, a popular Japanese arithmetic/logic puzzle that was designed to be an instruction-free opportunity for problem solving. Ken Ken problems can be found in many newspapers alongside the Sudoku and Crossword puzzles as well as on the Ken Ken website. Ken Ken problems are leveled by size and difficulty, allowing children lots of opportunities for fun and challenge.