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?

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.

Yes, when I have some intended concept that I want the kids to get. That happened a lot when I was leading a math club at a local school. However, with my own children, I usually just set out to do some activity with them (playing a game, looking for patterns, doing an experiment) and then it is really easy to let them lead.

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When one of my cousins was a kid, he asked his mother one day, “What comes after eleventy-nine?”!

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