MTBoS Week 2 – CMP3 Accentuate the Negative Investigation 1.4

In my 7th grade classroom we use CMP3 (Connected Mathematics Project) as our materials to teach the CCSS. My students are currently working in the book Accentuate the Negative investigation 1.4 using the chips. So, far students have been working with adding positive and negative numbers via a number line and with investigation 1.4 they start using red and black chips to model problems. I have had students using chips to model how to add integers for a few years now. Students are normally excited to be using something concrete to help them understand adding integers.

 When I introduced this investigation yesterday everything went as planned but that didn’t last for long! As students started to explore in their groups the whining began. “Why do we have to do this?” “Do I have to use the chips, it’s too much work?”

 As I was walking around from group to group I was looking at student work and then listening in on their conversations. I quickly noticed that they were not using the chips and answering problems like 7 + -8  as -1 but as 15. I have never had this problem in past years with students whining when they were given chips to use and help make a problem more concrete.

 I then found myself having to go around to each group and re-enforce that yes they were supposed to be using the chips. I even went so far as to ask a few students to model how to use the chips for certain problems.  

 The class I have this year as 7th graders don’t want to do any extra work. I have been trying everything out of my toolbox of ideas and resources (rewards with food, contests against classes……). About the only thing I have left is to do the work for them and that is never going to happen. So, I am back to rethinking how to get my students involved in what the lesson wants them to do. The work of a teacher is never ending!!!

 I will be posting pictures of student modeling with the chips later today at my twitter account @Sarah3Martin 



About martinsarah

7th grade math teacher in Iowa

6 responses to “MTBoS Week 2 – CMP3 Accentuate the Negative Investigation 1.4”

  1. Monte Munsinger says :

    Hang in there Sarah – the students will come around. I’m confident that you will sell them on the manipulatives as they start to understand and make more connections! I can’t believe that 1st Quarter is almost done already! Wow!

  2. unmuddlemath says :

    Sarah, you are right that the work of a teacher is never-ending! I think we’ve all experienced groups or classes of students that are difficult to motivate or engage in the lesson–even with manipulatives. Each group/class is different, and it may take some time to find what works for them. I’m sure your persistence will pay off soon.

  3. wwndtd says :

    I’ve had some success with reticent kids and reducing the number of tasks for a time. When I asked a student to write some stuff on a worksheet, based on some models, it was just too much. So, I made them put everything under their chairs except for the models. Model work time only at first. After a couple of iterations, I asked them about the first problems, and they couldn’t remember, so out came blank notebook paper so they could remember what they did.

    After a few classes like this, I let them use worksheets again. Later, (once they realized the models were a tool instead of a hindrance), they could handle having everything out at once.

    Hang in there!

  4. Chris Hunter says :

    I’d do what wwndtd would do: put the paper away and just explore using the manipulatives. I’m glad that you had positive experiences with manipulatives in the past: it’s easy to write off an activity/model based on an initial negative experience.

  5. Tegan says :

    Hey Sarah, I was thinking, could it be one or two students that initiate the whining and then other students following suit? I was thinking that could explain why it has worked for you for other classes but not this one. Figuring out which students are starting the negative learning atmosphere could be valuable information. How to then use that information, I’m not sure.

  6. Justin Aion says :

    I sympathize with this in ways that I can’t express. My students will do worksheets for hours, but won’t do more interesting tasks because “that’s too much” and they don’t want to have to think. Anything beyond a single step is “too much.”

    Finding the activity or topic that will hook them can be very hard and it could be different for each kid. I won’t offer suggestions because I think it depends on the situation and the kid and the teacher, but you know that #MTBoS is here to help people with whatever they need.

    Maybe we could discuss it at next weeks #MSMathChat! 🙂

    In any event, keep working, keep thinking about and keep writing!

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