Understanding student perspective regarding Mathematics, Collaborating with Math and our Community

Working with our School Story committee, teachers from all 26 divisions posed 4 questions to their students.  Depending on the grade level, adaptations were needed for each question as we searched for authentic responses on how our students were feeling about Mathematics, Collaborating with others on Mathematics and their impressions on our Community.

We have listed the responses to each question with kindergarten responses first, followed by increasing grades, with grade 7 responses being listed last.  We have shared two of questions and the responses from students.   From the responses below, it is easy to see that Anderson students have many ideas regarding the purpose of mathematics.  Anderson students have also clearly identified an overwhelming positive response to collaborating with others with mathematics.  This helps us to identify our hunch that creating more community (collaborative) based activities in math would be both beneficial for learning and fun for our students.

1)How do you feel and think about the purpose of mathematics

In our class
On papers
When cooking
Make bigger numbers
Make math with blocks to add
Different numbers
Counting by 2s, 3s, 10s
Counting feet (solving problems like how many feet are in our class)
Counting numbers
Math at the beach, writing in the sand
Making numbers our of seaweed
Counting flowers
In the shop, the money and stuff, counting coins and bills
Playing Splat
Counting blocks
Number wall in classroom
Shapes on our calendar
“I buy the robot”
Counting fish (On our calendar) Counting trees

At school
Home - iPad
Games - Board games, dice games, bowling
Counting - Hide and seek, calendar, writing

Connection of math to the core competencies: thinking for cooking.  
Counting, ordering, ingredients.
At home math workbook

We use math during classroom time
To power on our brains
When you work in a shop and count money
We use math during play

We see math everywhere! On TV, in the classroom, at home, at piano lessons, on my iPad, in books
We use math at the store to buy things
We use math to learn new things
Communication - during math centres
We use our thinking skills to solve problems

See math: timer, hundred chart, number line on wall, ruler, everything (are all shapes)
Use communication to communicate
Critical thinking of how to do math and get the answers
Tell, share about math, communication skills

Math centres, at school, math test
Thinking - I get ideas from others when I ask for help or solve problems together

In stories
Everywhere! My collection of clothes and books, I count them
I measure my food
My appetite - how many bites are left
In my homework - I have to do so many questions, it’s hard so I have to try different strategies
Thinking because it’s hard so I have to try different strategies
Communication - I get ideas from others by listening, then I tell mine at math talk

Measure (rulers)
In science - when we look at graphs
When we think about how to solve problems
When we work with partners, we communicate

In stories
Everywhere! My collection of clothes and books, I count them
I measure my food
My appetite - how many bites are left
In my homework - I have to do so many questions, it’s hard so I have to try different strategies
Thinking because it’s hard so I have to try different strategies
Communication - I get ideas from others by listening, then I tell mine at math talk

On peut voir mathématiques quand ___ écrit les fractions sur le tableau
On voit math quand on écrit les fractions
Mathématiques est important parce que tu peux pratiquer
On utilise mathématiques dans fractions et dans les livres et dans notre vie
On vois mathématiques dans les livres, la nature et les magasins
C’est important parce que tu peux participer

When we buy or sell something (shopping).  Like tax, sales.
Time in a day, hours, minutes,
Cooking and baking.
Measuring how many meters of paint do we need for this wall?
During PE/excercise.

When you need it - for a quiz
When we buy things
So you know how much change you need at the store
To sell stuff - buying a pencil and book from the bookstore
In education - “You start with the basics and practice to do harder math”
In jobs (e.g., for packaging items)
Knowing which trip of math is best for answering the question (e.g., addition vs multiplication)

“When you pay in a shop - at a restaurant like how much you have to pay”
“At home, I do math”
“In everyday life, school, shopping, games, texting”
“How many dots on a window - can use times tables”
“When you’re giving out goodie bags and count how many people to give one to”
“Counting money faster by using times tables”
“In the classroom - how many students?”
“In the LottoMax - you could win MaxMillions.”

Shopping (counting products, adding prices and calculating total cost and change)
Coding on an iPad
Getting measured for new clothing
Counting and calculating amounts of materials for crafting in video games
Classroom number lines and other posters/visuals at school
Reading scales on maps
In math class

When you ask for something, need to say how many
When you buy something, in a shop
Reading - page number
Making money
Making cake

Grocery store - taxes, change, discount
Furniture - location, space, area
Critical thinking - logical

Money: in person/games
Thinking core competency: solving problems
Communicating: explain process

while shopping
“Everywhere” - outside, fractions, when observing nature
In music
In classroom

When we buy items (adding up totals)
When planning decorate our door - lots of math for measuring things
Need lots of math to do our job
When planning for a party - How many items we need?
Restaurants - when ordering/totals
Buying bunch of stuff - need to estimate (we are not walking calculators)
We see numbers all around our classroom
Rubiks Cubes
Communication: we communicate our ideas in groups
Creative thinking: we build on each others ideas when solving problems

We use communication to share our math thinking with others
You need thinking to solve problems
If someone gives you the wrong change, you have to be able to communicate their error
Creative thinking, if you share an idea, others might get ideas
Personal responsibility, you have to ask Qs

I see math in the grocery store
Reading maps
Core competencies: word problems, Rubik’s cubes, video games, Roblox, Asking for help with math problems, grocery store check out
Costco, TNT, McDonals, school, math books, jobs
When you’re working in a group, communicating, sharing ideas, are vital to become successful


How do you feel and think about collaborating in mathematics

I can work with anyone

More challenges
More group interaction: all together learning
Practice at school

Everyone paying attention
Working together
Skilled, focused peers that help you learn
People that get to know you

I like working with my friends because I know them well
I like working with someone who is smarter than me so they can help me or teach me different strategies
Sometimes I like to work with my friends but I could get distracted by them
I like how *teacher* will put us in random math groups so we work with different people

My teacher - teaches me new stuff, nice, help me learn
Friends - to solve problems, more fun
Sometimes working alone, thinking time

Good listeners
Turn taking in conversations
Friends who understand each other
Active thinkers
Discipline and effort / staying on task
Friendly and kind behaviour
Discussion, not argument
Having a “we not me” attitude

I like working with people that make me feel included
People that help me stay focused
Warm people who encourage me

“I like doing math with ___ because I like to sit with him. He’s good at math. He’s quiet so I can do my work.”

“I enjoy working with someone who helps me if I am having trouble.”
“People that don’t distract me are goof to have in a math group.”
“Teamwork makes a good math group and also understanding and productiveness.”

“I like working with my friends so I can help them”
Three people so there’s lots of people to help each other”
“I like working with __ because he’s ay my level. Someone who’s not at my level might not understand.”
“A good group is one that works together and understands you”
“I pick someone who’s not at my level so I can try to help them level up.”

My dad
My mom, grandma, friends, brothers, sisters, everybody in my house
Good group - people who like you and help you

I like to get ideas from peers
I like math talk
I like to work with any person. They have different strategies so I could learn from them too!

I enjoy doing math with my friends
A good math group is one that helps each other

Table mates

Make it easier to try new things
Feeling safe with these people
They make it fun
They make it happy
We can learn new things from others
Kind people

Collaborative people
Friendly people
People who listen to ideas
People who take their work seriously and don’t play around
Friends that stay on subject
An inclusive team
Different types of math levels on the team
Teamwork (makes the dream work

One person doesn’t take over
Don’t judge when mistakes are made
Different people share different ideas
Work as a team
Positive attitude
All included, all ideas heard
Encouraging each other
Collaborating to solve problems
Help others who don’t understand
Explain ideas when someone doesn’t understand

I like to work with some friends because I can share math ideas
I like working with __ because we communicate well
A good math group is people communicating with each other and helping each other
We share ideas and collaborate
If you work togethers, it’s a good group
You let other people share their ideas and can learn new and interesting ideas

___ said with ___ cause he’s nice
I like being with ___ because I can concentrate
I like working with __ because he’s at my table and he’s next to me and we work very goodly
I like being with ___ because she helps me concentrate and learn and tells me the ideas like 5+3=8 and I didn’t know that before

My friend helps me
When you’re alone, you have more fun
Makes math more fun, encourages me, helps me

I like teaming up because someone needs help
My friends- because they support when I need help
My family because they figure out how I learn.

A good math group listens to the one who is talking, when we share ideas, when we help our classmates who need help, when we teach new strategies, when we use math materials, when we add new ideas in small groups.

Updated: Friday, February 17, 2023