Common Core requires students to have a deeper understanding of how math works, so I occasionally ask my students to explain their answers, especially when we are learning from examples together on the whiteboard. I don’t think it’s necessary to constantly ask students to explain their answers, as it can become quite tedious and forced, but meaningful discussion benefits everyone. To help focus student’s descriptions, I have students roll a die. If they roll a 1 or 2, they would need to SHOW the answer by using pictures, models, or math tools. If they roll a 3 or 4, they would need to TELL the answer by using words, text, and sentences. If they roll a 5 or 6, they would need to CALCULATE the answer by using numbers and equations.

Another math buddy, Beyond Traditional Math uses a similar strategy, so please check it out. Also, this article explains why it’s not necessary to always ask for an explanation.

Sorry for the poor picture, but with the four different problems on the board, there are the different strategies written next to them, based on the roll of the dice.

Click on the picture below if you want to download your own copy (color or black and white). FYI – Please print it on ledger sized paper 11 x 17, for best results.

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