Tracy Sola is an experienced teacher and professional developer supporting K-12 teachers.
She has created mathematics tasks, formative re-engaging lessons, and explanatory materials for communicating to teachers and parents. In this video, recorded in Gilroy Unified School District (in Gilroy, California), she examines number operations and counting with transitional kindergarteners (who turned five between 9/1 and 12/1 of the year this lesson was documented), kindergarteners (who turned five before 9/1 of that year), and a few first-grade learners.
This lesson is adapted from the Problem of the Month “Squirreling it Away:”
In the Problem of the Month Squirreling It Away, students use number operations, organized lists, and counting methods to solve problems. The mathematical topics that underlie this POM are knowledge of number sense, comparison subtraction, division, factors and divisibility, counting principles, systematic charting, and closed‐form equations. The mathematics that includes counting principles and systematic charting is often referred to as discrete mathematics.
In this lesson, Tracy’s students are working on Level A of the Problem of the Month, in which they “are presented with a situation that involves making sense of totals and comparison differences.” The task involves making a number story about giving acorns to two different‐sized groups of squirrels and then determining how many acorns were left over from the original total. Subsequent levels of the multi-part Problem of the Month address partitioning acorns into sets, determining how many different ways the acorns can be divided, and finding and justifying an equation to describe different ways acorns can be divided among squirrels. (Learn more about Problems of the Month)