2nd Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of March 22-25, 2016

We are back from Spring Break!!  We quickly got back into the swing of things with our morning routine, and I was trying to focus on spiraling back around to topics we haven’t touched for a while.  We also had a Mystery Number Skype scheduled for Friday, so the problem that day was specifically designed to help that thinking.







Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of February 22-26, 2016

I have three warm-ups to share this week.  We had a surprise snow day (which was a little funny because where I live there was no snow!) on Wednesday, so no warm-up that day!  We are in the middle between our money unit and addition/subtraction up to 1000, so the problems reflect that.



As we discussed this problem, we tried a similar one:






IMG_0737-minWe modeled the solution to this one in three different ways (which we related to the ways we had done 2-digit addition earlier this year).

Ok, now for a confession…I was surprised when my kids made some of the connections they did this week between money and 3-digit addition.  I know, right?  Probably shouldn’t happen that way, but it was honestly something I hadn’t really noticed, or at least thought about it as specifically as they did.  I think it was nicely pictured in the problem from Tuesday, where we solved each problem in red–they made connections between how you can add whole dollars just like the hundreds in the 2nd problem (and that’s just like 100 cents, making the amount with pennies); the tens were dimes and then the ones were pennies.  Ok, so that part is not surprising to me–obviously I have this knowledge as an adult–but I honestly didn’t expect kiddos to use this to help them solve the 3-digit addition.

It went even farther yesterday when I had a kiddo working on a pre-assessment for this next unit and was doing the problem 451-238.  He told me he needed the money bag so he could use coins to help him.  Since I always allow kiddos to use whatever manipulatives or strategies they need to figure things out I said “ok,” but I honestly was thinking this would hinder him more than help him, or that he’d end up more confused.  When we first looked it he seemed confused with how he’d subtract 8 from 1 (which told me he wasn’t really solid with regrouping yet).  He started by making $4.51 with half dollars, dollar coin, dimes and a penny, and seemed a little unsure about it as this point, too, asking me about names and values as he made his amount.  But once he got his $4.51, he could easily take about the $2 from $2.38, as well as the $.30, which he did with 3 dimes (and I wonder if he made that $.50 that way on purpose since he could think ahead to having to break it apart later on).  Then he sat with only 1 penny, and the need to subtract 8 cents.  And so yes, here’s where the money came in handy–the concrete nature of being able to think about trading a dime for 10 pennies (which is what he is doing abstractly when regrouping) helped him see the constant value and how he could then actually take about the 8 pennies (8 ones) from what was there.  He then counted the money he had left and told me it was $2.19.  We then talked about what that would be if we were just talking about hundreds/tens/ones instead of money and by drawing it in a chart he eventually saw it as 219.

I’m excited to see how this connection to money plays out for some of my friends who need to actually hold/touch/feel the addition and subtraction.  Yes, it’s something we’ve done with other kinds of math tools and strategies, but I wonder if this might even be the best connection, yet, since it’s all based on place value anyway.  Oh yeah, and maybe that’s why this unit was placed after this one in the sequence….

The conversation around this problem the other day was the kind of thing that reminds me that I don’t know everything.  Obviously I know this, but it’s refreshing when kiddos remind me that they are figuring out things I hadn’t thought of.  I love sharing with them those moments, too.  It reiterates the fact that I am not the only teacher in the room, and that I have things to learn as well as they do.  And I hope it’s a lesson that all of us will remember–and use–for days to come.

Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of February 8-11, 2016

This was another of those weird weeks in the Winter where we have less than a full week of school.  Oh, yeah, and we celebrated Valentine’s Day today which made for a funny schedule.  AND then you add in ridiculous Missouri weather and an accident (oh, no, not mine–just one that added an hour to my commute!) and this week has already been the longest in ages.  What? It’s only Thursday? Well here’s to a professional development day tomorrow, then. 🙂

So…a short week and a crazy day today means I have only three warm-ups to share.  I think they’re pretty good ones, though.  Made for great conversations.  Enjoy!  Oh, yeah, they’re all about money again.


This was the first time I’d asked a money question written in equation form.  Many were confused by seeing cents written as dollars (they kept saying “Why did you put a dollar sign there?”), and so we had to clarify that during our debrief.



This was a challenge to think of amounts in more than one way.  They did pretty well with it, though.




When we talked about this one, we had some great conversations about efficiency when counting coins, and how making piles of dollars (starting with the biggest coins) is a quick way to figure out the total.  We also practiced making $.25 in multiple ways (not just a quarter).  We called it “Mickey Mouse” when we found 2 dimes and a nickel, so 2 Mickeys and a 2 quarters makes a dollar, as does 2 Mickeys and a half dollar.  Just so you know. 🙂


Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of February 1-5, 2016

This was finally a semi-normal week: we had 5 school days and no “extra” stuff to mess with the schedule.  It was also the first week in a long time that we had a math warm-up every morning, which means I have lots of problems to share! I even found a couple of odd ones from last week–which was NOT a normal week because of the 100th Day and a 1/2 day on Friday.

These last few weeks we’ve been working on money, so all of these relate to that topic.  They are progressive, from Monday to Friday, and speak to the new skill/concept I was planning to cover that day; some kiddos really had no idea how to do this when i asked them to think about it in the morning and so had to give-it-a-go, or work with a partner. These were definitely questions where I saw many post-its that said, “I’m not sure yet but what I think is…”  (The extra two I’m sharing this week are related to our muffin challenge from the 100th Day.  Be sure to check out that post for more info!).

Last Week Muffin Problems


This week’s money problems:









Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Catching Up

If you’ve been around here for a while (thanks!), then you know that one of the “regular” posts I do is to share our math warm-ups each week.  For many reasons that hasn’t happened for the last few months.  So this post is to catch up on some of the best ones from recently. 🙂


Before the holidays we were working on measurement (mostly length) and had some questions at the beginning to get minds thinking about how and why we should know how to measure.  The last one also addresses being able to visualize the size of a unit (centimeters) and apply it to appropriate situations.  In between and after all of these, we did lots and lots of measuring with different units, tools and objects.

Measurement (Time)

I only ended up with one picture (sorry!) of this round of warm ups, but after we came back from Winter Break we were still working on measuring, only with time!  There were several days of questions related to where the hands would fall on the clock, how many minutes would have passed if the minute hand were on a certain number, as well as one where the had to tell all the ways to describe a certain time (4:30, half past 4, etc.).


Measurement (Money)

Now we’re on to money, and so we’re working on some foundational questions that get kiddos thinking about the numbers behind it first.  Then we’ll work more specifically on counting amounts, giving change, etc.


This first one was just to get kids thinking about groups.  What was great (and what happens often when we discuss the problem later in the day) is that while I never mentioned anything about money, someone used that model to help them figure out the answers and then once we made that connection, it made sense to other friends, too.  Then we could explicitly connect the numbers to coins and amounts we knew (or needed to learn!).

This one got kiddos thinking about combinations that make 25 (which I knew meant a quarter, but wasn’t saying that yet)…

…and then the next day I asked that same question with new parameters (which again I knew was connected to money) to connect to that previous thinking:


As with most everything else I throw at them, kiddos are doing great things with making connections to previous knowledge and incorporating new concepts.  It’s great to watch them think like teachers and figure out the method to my math warm-up madness–often kids will say “Hey, you asked this question because….”  Good stuff!

If you’re doing math warm-ups, do you have any to share about measuring length, time or money?  We’d love to try them!

An Authentic Australian Audience

First of all, to my friends in 5SK, I’m SO sorry you’ve been waiting so long for this post!  We ended up needing another day to get our presentations “just so” before we shared them.

And so for those of you who are not from 5Sk (a Year 5 class in Queensland, Australia), let me fill you in on what’s going on.

I have been talking to Ms. Scharf for a little while, and received an email from her the other day with a request.  She also posted it on her blog:

The challenge from Mrs. Scharf for her 5SK friends.

The challenge from Ms. Scharf for her 5SK friends.

I was beyond excited about this question because 1) I knew my friends could answer it and help their Aussie friends, and 2) this was a REAL, AUTHENTIC audience with a REAL problem that we needed to solve–talk about motivating!

So after talking through what we needed to do first (which was research the Australian money system so we knew what connections to make and so we’d have some background knowledge), as well as all the things we needed to include in our responses.

And so, after two days of working, here’s what we came up with for our friends:

And last, but not least, one group made a poster to explain their answer:

Fiona, Anna K., Sammy and

Fiona, Anna K., Sammy and Rebekah chose to explain their thinking in a poster.

So what do you think?  5SK friends–did we help you?  Please write and tell us what you think.  We’d also love to hear how your Pocket Money Challenge went today! 🙂