We want to ensure learners have every opportunity to learn from each other and develop mathematical understanding by experiencing multiple ways to solve problems.
A Number Talk is basically a pedagogical strategy that allows learners to share their mathematical thinking with each other. It is essentially a mathematical 'Think-Aloud'. There are many ways to solve the problems we encounter in maths classrooms and in life, and often there are multiple effective ways. A good number talk allows learners to develop their mathematical reasoning which we know is an essential mathematical proficiency!
The following steps may be over-simplifying the process of a number talk but it does provide a good overview of what a number talk is all about.
Here are the steps;
1. Teacher presents the problem.
2. Students figure out the answer.
3. Students share their answers.
4. Students share their thinking.
5. The class agrees on the "real" answer for the problem.
6. The steps are repeated for additional problems.
In the image above, the students have been presented with a problem. They then get an opportunity to share their answer. The important thing with a number talk is not necessarily the answer itself but the reasoning the student has used to arrive at the proposed solution. Have a go yourself! We would love to see some answers (along with you reasons) in the comments below.
Not only do Number Talks engage our students in rich mathematical conversations where each and every student's thinking is being valued, but they create a great opportunity for building classroom community and a growth mindset.
For more information on Number Talks, Youcubed has a fantastic video which is worth checking out, https://www.youcubed.org/resources/stanford-onlines-learn-math-teachers-parents-number-talks/