Have You Taught Multi Digit Even and Odd Numbers Like This?
I thought I KNEW how to teach even and odd numbers until I saw this! Knowing that our third graders always miss the simple skill of even and odd numbers with two and three digits, I thought I would target this misconception. I told them that even numbers have partners and odd numbers have a lonely someone left out. To teach even and odd numbers,I asked if several small numbers like 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 were even or odd and drew pictures of counters to ask if they had a partner. With this idea, I asked if 227 was even or odd. I told the kids to write this down on a scrap of paper and cover it over with their hand so no one could see what they wrote. The teacher and I surveyed the room as kids secretly moved their hand. Just about half of the class thought it was even and half thought it was odd. Thinking of the 8 Mathematical Practices, I didn’t want to spill the beans. I wanted the students to really think about whether this number would come out with an even number of partners. I told them to start drawing 227 counters on their paper to see if each counter would come out with a partner. I knew this could be a tedious task, but to my astonishment, I saw a few kids actually drawing base ten blocks….WOW! I couldn’t believe they had thought of this. I had never thought of drawing base ten blocks!!!
Through all of their work building numbers in second grade, they were so comfortable and flexible with base ten blocks, they actually saw them as tools!! After we did this little exercise, which took about 15 minutes, we resurveyed the class and only 3 of the 25 students still thought the number was even. Success through taking the time for students thinking!