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The workforce demands for students with technical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills continue to drive our global economy.  In an effort to prepare our students to meet these demands, Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Davidson County has implemented various initiatives to provide students the opportunity to excel in the development of these skills.  The "Math in CTE" initiative is intended to equip students and further strengthen their technical problem solving and critical thinking skills.

CTE teachers have the opportunity to attend various professional development sessions to learn math strategies to integrate within their curriculum.  The professional development is two-fold:

1.  To gain a better understanding of students' math skills and identify opportunities for improvement.

2.  To share problem solving and numeracy strategies that can be integrated in any classroom.

The following are examples of numeracy strategies to integrate within the curriculum:

Teach and Learn-is a strategy that is based on research indicating that the best learning method to increase retention is to teach someone else.  Teaching someone else may be done by expressing ideas or methods in one's own words, thereby, clarifying and reinforcing one's own understanding.

Math to Self/Math to Life-is a strategy to see a relationship between a math concept and a real life situation or one's own prior learning.  Finding math to self/math to life connections greatly increases the relevance of new information and skills being learned.

Fast Write-is a strategy that allows the teacher to quickly assess a student's understanding of a concept through a brief writing explanation.

Mental Calculations-allows students to think through a problem mentally.  This strategy allows students to build their thinking skills and their sense of numerical relationships.  It also allows them to quickly analyze the correctness or accuracy of their solution.

Think Aloud
-is a strategy that can be used two ways.  First, the teacher could model problem solving skills to a class by thinking aloud.  This allows the class to see the thinking that is involved behind the problem.  Second, the student could solve a problem by thinking aloud.  This will allow the teacher to better understand the student's thought process.

Think-Pair-Share-is a strategy that allows students to work in groups of two.  Paired students work the problem, then take turns sharing their work with each other.

KWC (Know, Want, Conditions)-is a strategy used while solving a problem.  It allows students to filter the information that they already know about the problem, what they want or need to know, and what rules or conditions they may need to apply.

Pictorial Representations and Physical Representations-
is a strategy that allows students to draw out their answer or use manipulatives such as tooth picks, jelly beans, etc. to assist in solving the problem.

Graphic Organizers-Students often have trouble organizing information.  Graphic Organizers are tools that allows students to organize information in a meaningful way.

Chunking-is any strategy that organizes complex content into smaller, more manageable, "chunks".  It begins with the end in mind and separates the lesson into smaller mini-lessons.

Vocabulary Magnet-is a strategy that allows students to write the math vocabulary word above a picture of a magnet.  They will then think about and look for words or ideas that relate to the word or phrase in the magnet.  Once the ideas are developed, students will write the words and ideas on the lines around the magnet.

To learn more about numeracy strategies please visit our Math in CTE resource page.  I encourage you to look specifically at "The Elephant Problem" to test your problem solving skills!