iPads as tools, not toys: Teaching fact families

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My class has been working on fact families (seeing how numbers relate to each other using addition and subtraction) for about a week. I gave them a task to see how they were able to use what we have learnt so far and put it all together. 

They were asked to work with a partner (only due to not having 1:1 iPads available). They chose 3 numbers to work with as their fact family for the task. Some chose a new family they had recently learnt and memorised (e.g. 5, 7, 12), some chose two find parts and find out the whole by adding them together, and some rolled a dice to find a part and a whole  and some just got a stack of unifix and broke them into two pieces!  I was impressed to see the range of ideas they had to make and show their families, just at this stage. 

Then, I gave them a choice of out of three familiar apps to use to show their fact family and the related number sentences. The choices were Popplet, Educreations and Skitch. Each of these apps allow for adding text, inserting images and some drawing, but each with differences that allowed students to show their learning in their own way.

Every. single. group. nailed it and I was really impressed to see the way they tailored the task to suit themselves… some used materials and took a picture of them, some arranged it into a house to reflect a task we had done earlier, some labelled with the part-part-whole language we have been using.

To collect their work at the end, I had them all screenshot their work and Instashare it with me.

Let me know if you try something similar and tell me how it goes!

Here are some examples:

Beautiful popplet by some students who wanted a challenge with their numbers.

Beautiful popplet by some students who wanted a challenge with their numbers.

These students used Educreations to show a few different fact families.

These students used Educreations to show a few different fact families.

These students wanted to show what they'd done with materials and inserted a picture of their work into Educreations.

These students wanted to show what they’d done with materials and inserted a picture of their work into Educreations.

These students used the labelling function in Evernote's Skitch to show their understanding.

These students used the labelling function in Evernote’s Skitch to show their understanding.

 

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5 comments

  1. Wow, those kids are incredible! Great work using those iPads as the tool to display knowledge instead of just playing a game.

  2. Thanks for sharing. That’s an impressive range of ways to illustrate “fact families”. It shows the benefit of giving kids a choice in how they express their learning.

    1. Thanks for your comment John! I thought it might be tricky for them but it actually turned out to be easier because they weren’t so restricted too many rules about how to do it.

  3. Great share Emily. I really like the idea of creating a publication. Did you share the different results back with the kids in any way? Is that what Instashare allows? I love the excitement that students get when they look at others presentations.

    1. Thanks Aaron. I had a few pairs share what they’d done with the whole class (the magic of iPads and airplay!) and discuss which program they’d chosen and why. I then had the kids discuss whether any of them wanted to use a different app next time and why they thought it would work for them. Some really great comments came out of that! It amazing to see grade 2s discussing the plusses and limitations of an app and how it relates to their own task!
      Instashare allows you to share pictures and some files with another device – I use it to get the kids to screenshot their work and send it to my mac so I have a copy of what they’ve done. It’s a really simple drag and drop so is easy for them to use.

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