Targeted Questions for Students Who Struggle

We’ve been doing number talks for a little over a month now, and it has been very exciting to see all the ways my students are representing numbers. What I have noticed lately though, is they aren’t seeing relationships between numbers.

In the example below, they still began to solve 8×8 without paying any attention to the 4×8 that we had JUST solved… Which was also posted right next to it.


I strategically lined up similar strategies on the 8×8 poster thinking at the end we could compare.

And once again I asked a general question “What do you notice on both posters?” For students that struggle that is not enough. They notice things like “both posters have the number 8 on it”, and other surfacey types of things. It goes against everything in me to just flat out tell students what to see, so I’ve been trying to sharpen my questioning skills. In this one I asked, “Where do you see 4×8 on both posters?” The lightbulbs went on!

Believe it or not, these students all came in the next day and noticed this same connection between 3×7 and 6×7. Purposefully building up those connections is a great way to help them generalize it for other facts. I do believe also that building these movie theaters has helped them to solidify their conceptual understanding of multiplication and division.

Feel free to share successful quetionning techniques that you have!


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