by Maureen McCaffery, Community Manager, TenMarks:
The goal of TenMarks Math is to support teachers throughout the entire math instructional process. We are excited to announce TenMarks Math Labs, a new feature aimed at helping teachers deliver guided discovery learning experiences to their students. Labs support our current suite of content, which includes lessons, teacher resources, assignments, and assessments.
Created with the tenets of inquiry-based learning in mind, Labs encourage student engagement and peer discussions through highly interactive tools and game-like feedback. Students explore relationships and patterns, make predictions, and share their reasoning with fellow classmates in a cycle of conjecture and play. Through this rigorous work, students are able to build their ability to verbalize their thoughts in writing and through classroom discussions led by the teacher.
Part 1: The Launch
Each Lab begins with a "hook" designed to immediately grab the students’ attention and set them on a path toward the intended mathematical discovery. The "hook" might challenge incorrect math assumptions in a surprising way or lead students to notice and wonder about a concept. It may also be presented in the form of a short cartoon or a thought-provoking question to spark class debate.
Part 2: The Exploration
For the bulk of the Lab, students manipulate objects or models that encourage exploration of the concept. For example, they might build prisms to learn about surface area or cut wholes into fractional parts to illustrate fair sharing. As students progress through each Lab, they observe and recognize patterns, make conjectures, and discover mathematical relationships. They are prompted with questions to help them process their observations as a method for self-explanation.
Part 3: Classroom Debrief
Following the exploration, teachers are provided with a plan for engaging students in a mathematical discussion that supports and solidifies what they have just discovered. This portion of the Lab prepares students to transfer their learning to other assignments and further promotes the standards for mathematical practice. It also enables students to explain their reasoning with the group.
Research shows the benefits of guided discovery learning, and we have created Labs as a simple and engaging way for teachers to use this approach in their classrooms. With the included teacher guidance documents, TenMarks Math Labs gives teachers the support to maximize the effectiveness of these learning experiences. Each guide includes a description of the Lab and its intended discovery, the prerequisite knowledge for the concept, a Launch activity, key instructional moves that help teachers anticipate student responses and keep them on track, and a suggested format for leading a rich debrief discussion around what students discovered.
We are thrilled to partner with teachers to provide guided discovery learning experiences for students. TenMarks Math Labs is a Premium feature. If you are a free customer and you’d like to try Labs, enter the 30 day Premium trial.
Maureen McCaffery is a member of the TenMarks marketing team. Maureen taught early elementary students in the greater San Francisco Bay Area for three years. Before her time in the classroom, she worked for a number of years in marketing, business development, and finance at education-focused organizations. Maureen is passionate about supporting teachers to ensure that all students have access to the right resources and tools to reach their full potential.