First Grade Enrichment Math: Cooperative Problem Solving (with Bears!)

New first grade enrichment math groups met this Wednesday.  We are working on some logic problems in cooperative groups.  We began with ten “Bear Line-Up” problems.  The kids are working in groups of three or four.  Each group receives a set of cards, with each card containing a clue.  The kids read the clues in turn and then attempt to arrange the bears according to the parameters given on the cards.

For example:

1. Three grean bears are at the front of one line
2. In one line, there are 3 blue bears and 4 yellow bears.  Each blue bear is just behind a yellow bear.
3. There are 2 lines of bears.  There are 7 bears in each line.
4. Four red bears are at the back of one line.

All of the clues are necessary to complete the task.  The students have to listen to each other read the clues and then agree on the appropriate course of action.  This isn’t always easy.  We have a lot of alpha children who are used to taking charge when they are in a group, and now here they are with a bunch of other alphas.  There was a lot of frustration, but they worked through it.

We finished the last Bear Line-Up today and moved on to Bear Street.  These are similar problems, but they involve placing the bears on a map.  This went much more smoothly.  I think the kids are really learning how to listen, take turns, etc.  Next week we’ll continue with some similar logic activities.  I expect this will go even better, but we’ll have to wait and see!