You probably knew that sixty-seven plus four equals sixty-eleven, but for Katie and Varya this was a source of great surprise and amusement during today’s lesson. We were continuing with adding two-digit numbers, but this time I decided to make some of the examples a bit more complicated. The interesting thing is that if I had asked Katie what the answer was without writing it down or using any props, she would have counted 4 from sixty-seven and come up with the correct (to be read boring) answer of seventy-one. However, we were learning that ones get added to ones and tens to tens.
After we all had our fair share of laughter and agreed that sixty-eleven wasn’t really a number, I had the girls think of how to remedy the situation. I eventually got them to say that we should exchange 10 ones for one 10, after which the answer became obvious. However, thinking about it in retrospect, I am disappointed with how I handled the situation. At the time, I really wanted them to figure it out during the lesson, and so I pushed for it by asking (too) many questions. What I now feel I should have done is leave it at sixty-eleven and give them the opportunity to have a eureka moment in the future. I think that they were sufficiently intrigued by the problem/funny answer that they would have thought about it more. Do you ever regret giving away an answer too soon instead of giving the kids some more time to think about it?