Math of Zada: Foundations for Addition

In our work at AIMS, we have opportunities to see many students do some pretty remarkable things. Sometimes we experience students doing exactly what we’ve come to expect them to do, but it is no less remarkable to witness. I’d like to share with you some of my experience with a student named Zada (pseudonym). She is a great example of a common behavior we regularly see in young children.

In my interactions with her, I am trying to understand what she knows about addition. Can she join two collections? What prompt might I need to give her to stretch her thinking? My goal is to potentially give her an idea that is appropriate for her math.

When I think about how I taught before understanding student adaptive pedagogy, I realized that told kids how to solve problems. I even tried to give them cute ways to remember the procedure. Now I just want to make a suggestion like, “Can you count them?” If it doesn’t make sense to them then that tells me something as well. Below you will find a video of Zada. What do you notice about her math? What were some questions or prompts I used?

Zada saw two separate collections and didn’t join them until I prompted her. This allowed me to understand her math sweet spot was to work on joining two visible collections. There could be lots of creative ways to do that. What would you do with a small group of Zada’s?

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