Cooperative learning is a grouping strategy that is designed to increase student participation by capitalizing on the social aspects of learning. In mathematics, students cooperate while working together on a geometry puzzle, measuring the playground, or reviewing for a test (Good, Reys, Grouws, & Mulryan, 1990).
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Spencer Kagan (1994) identified basic principles for implementing cooperative learning successfully: constructive interdependence, individual responsibility, equal involvement, and concurrent communication.
Cooperative learning in mathematics
Incorporating cooperative learning in teaching 2nd- 4th graders requires organizing the students in groups, or teams that are heterogeneous so that students with different skill levels can understand the basic concepts of mathematics (Evans, 1994).
In cooperative learning, the use of wooden sticks or plastic disks, geometry puzzle, measuring the playground, or reviewing for a test enable the students to easily solve mathematical problems and conceptualize each mathematical task.
Another approach includes providing real world examples instead of conforming strictly to written materials. Discussions such as buying things at a shop or sharing candy with friends can help in integrating real life situations into teaching and enable relevancy with day-to-day life. Providing practice techniques will enable the learners to retain the information gained.
Practicing addition and subtraction for 2nd and 4th graders
The activities and procedures
Draw on the board three parallel lines and two intersecting line. Place + and – signs next to the parallel line. This will create a network of blank boxes. Have the students copy this onto their writing materials.
While the grouped students are writing playing such games and writing the numbers on their writing materials, the teacher is also playing by filling out the squares on the board (the grouped students will attempt to beat the teacher).
After filling out the boxes ask the pupils if anyone beat your answer, write the best answer on the board and any group with the correct answer gets a point.
Develop smaller grids to adapt to the learners level. Implementing this group learning, help the students understand simple mathematical problems (Chiu, 2000).
Another procedure is grouping the students into two or more parts, while taking part in geometry puzzle by working out mathematical problem. The main objective of the kind of geometry puzzle is to make the students understand basic geometric equations.
This technique applies to both Second and Fourth graders
Practicing multiplication and subtraction for 2nd and 4th graders
This could be more complicated as compared to the addition and subtraction module.
Activities and procedures
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Provide the students with multiplication tables to practice on their own in preparation for a random quiz in class.
In every math lesson, begin by a 10 minute random quiz by asking randomly multiplication questions, note that for second and fourth graders, it is advisable to start with single digit multiplication so that the pupils acquire the basics of multiplication that will enable them solve other multiple digit multiplication.
Students that answers the quiz correctly earns points, these will motivate other learners to practice multiplication tables in preparation for the math lesson.
For division problems, the use of circular disks will aid in introducing division to second graders. Cut the circle into halves and quarters to explain the concept of fractions which will form the basic concepts in division. For fourth graders the pupils should have the basics of division and therefore introducing multiple digit division is appropriate.
Useful Sources or URL
Chiu, M. M. (2000). Group problem solving processes: Social interactions and individual actions. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 30, 1, 27-50.600-631.
Evans, L. (1994). EASY ADDITION. Lesson Plan. Web.
Good, T. L., Reys, B. J., Grouws, D. A., & Mulryan, C. M. (1990). Using work groups in mathematics instruction. Educational leadership, 47, 56-60.
Kagan, S. (1994). Kagan cooperative learning. 2nd ed. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing.