This unit plan focuses on building a class community by helping students get to know each other through math lessons. Students will identify their similarities and differences by comparing their names, participating in daily class surveys, and sharing their morning commute routines with each other.
- Collect data
- Develop math vocabulary to describe data
- Develop math vocabulary and skills to compare data
- Develop skills to discuss and analyze data
- Colored tag board or poster board
- Printer paper
- Computer with printer access
- Scissors or paper cutter
- Tape or velcro strips
- Clothespins, one per student plus you
- Optional: Sample Parent Letter: Introducing the Getting to Know You With Math Unit printable
- Optional: Laminating materials
- Create a survey display for the classroom door using a large sheet of tag board or poster board. Title it "Survey of the Day" or "Class Survey." Leave space beneath this title to place statement/sentence strips. Below the empty space, put a strong line down the center and label "YES" on one side and "NO" on the other side (see the example below). Affix this display to the front door of the classroom for students to see as they walk into the room.
- Type up numerous statements of differing lengths and various high-frequency words, such as "I am a boy," "I am happy," "I am tall," "I like milk," "I like juice," "I like school," etc. Print the statements and cut them to fit in the empty space of the survey display. You may want to laminate these so that you can save them for years to come. Use tape or velcro strips to affix these onto your survey board.
- Write the names of each student in your class on both sides of the clothespins. Students will clip their clothespins to the side of the survey board that matches their response to the statement. Make certain to write the names so that the name is right-side up regardless of which side of the survey board the student may use.
- Prepare to model the survey activity for the class during the first week or until students are comfortable with the activity. Plan to spend five to ten minutes on the survey.
- Optional: Use the Sample Parent Letter: Introducing the Getting to Know You With Math Unit printable as an example for writing your own parent letter to introduce the unit. Send the note home with students a few days before you introduce the survey board.
Step 1: Introduce the survey board and name clothespins to the class and model the survey activity.
Step 2: Ask students (and their parents, if possible) to read the survey of the day every morning. Explain that when students know their answer, they should place their clothespin on either the 'yes' or 'no' side of the survey.
Step 3: On the first day you conduct a survey, ask the class helper to check that the survey was completed by every student in the class.
Step 4: During the day, address the class survey. Bring the survey board into the meeting area so it can be read and analyzed. Ask students questions about the survey results, such as:
- How many more people chose 'yes' versus 'no'?
- Can you tell by looking at the graph or must we count to make certain?
- What else does the data tell us about the class?
- Who did not fill out the graph and why?
- If everyone that is present did the survey, how many students are absent?
- If we know the number of friends that are absent, how many students are present?
Step 5: Conduct a new survey every day, guiding students to respond to the statement when they arrive until it is part of their daily routine.
Note: The first few surveys you conduct are mainly to allow students to experience responding to a survey on a daily basis and to teach them to describe and analyze the resulting data. As the year continues, it may be fun to customize the sentences in order to make them more relevant and significant for your class. Most importantly, be certain to create statements that can only have two responses.
Supporting All Learners
It may be necessary to help some students read the survey board message each day, in particular students whose parents leave early and are unable to stay to help them read it. Make sure every student understands the question or statement and responds appropriately. Occasionally, it may be necessary to explain a statement or question to a student.
Send a brief note home to parents informing them that you are adding to their child's morning routine and you need their help. Impress upon them that it is a daily math project but also a way for everyone to get to know one another. Encourage them to help their child read the statement of the day. We think it is a wonderful way for them to engage with their children in the classroom setting before leaving for the day.
The daily survey is a wonderful opportunity to engage students in conversations about mathematical ideas and to challenge their understanding of the relevant mathematical vocabulary. Observe their reasoning and their mathematical thinking. Ask them why they think what they do. Through these conversations, you will be able to assess their growth and understanding of the survey.