It’s funny how great ideas can just come to you in a flash. Since the Oilers clinched their playoff spot last month, I had been trying to figure out a way to integrate the Oilers and the playoffs into my math lessons. I hadn’t come up with anything more interesting than word problems to practice our addition and subtraction skills until we had Oilers day last week. A group of teachers were in my room during recess and we were all wearing our Oiler jerseys and inspiration hit! We decided to pose the following questions to our Grade 2 and 6 students and then share our thinking with each other.

I posed both of these questions to my class and asked them to come up with solutions that would work with the numbers already presented. Using the thinking behind number talks, I had students find solutions mentally and put a thumbs up in front of them when they had a solution. After almost the whole class had a solution, I asked students to share their solution and the reasoning behind their thinking. I recorded their solutions and thinking on the board as they spoke. These are the possible solutions to the questions.

While my students were sharing their thinking and reasoning, their knowledge about numbers and their relationships became apparent. Their responses gave me insight into who was using what they had learned earlier in the year about odd and even numbers and who had gaps in their mathematical understanding.

I had to ask my students if 99 and 97 would be a possible response for the second question as a start of a pattern. We haven’t talked a great deal about patterning yet this year and it would interesting to see if I repeated a similar question to this next month, once we have learned more about patterns, if my students would offer solutions that would make patterns.