My first attempt at a provocations


Author: MrSoClassroom

I am a grade school Teacher, promoting creativity and exploration in all of my students. My classroom is always in a state of Inquiry.

5 thoughts on “My first attempt at a provocations”

  1. Thanks for sharing what you did here, Jonathan! It's awesome that you're giving this a try, and as you mentioned, it really isn't much different than what you usually do. I'm going to tweet the link of this post to Kristi, as I'd love for her to have a look at it. We were talking a lot about provocations at our Inquiry PD session today, and Kristi mentioned that when she used to teach a concept (e.g., energy), she'd give them the terms and have them sort the items. Now she'd get them to find the links. She uses the provocations and their questioning (as well as hers) for this. So this makes me wonder what would happen if you gave them the bins of objects without the names? Would students uncover the properties? Would they ask questions that would get them to these names? Or, is inquiry in math different, and are these terms up front important? Does it matter? I'm not sure. I'd love to have Kristi weigh in.

    Always so much to think about …


  2. Thanks for the comment aviva, I would love to hear kristi's perspective. I actually didn't give them the names of the figures, all I wrote was prism, pyramid and cylinder. They had to use them to do everything else. These three terms are the general names of the figures. Students used their prior knowledge of 2d shapes and came up with more properties. It was interesting to see how they identified the figures. Many of them called them by their 2D shape names but some tried to use the terms upfront and add the 2D name. I haven't actually seen the final results as some are still working on it. I have a high ESL population and vocabulary is tough. Also some things in math are not constructable, eg. Names, properties, terms, etc. these are called social constructs and students just need to be told them. They can then use them to construct an understanding of their meaning. The provocations I gave them would be an example of this too. I gave them the name but they constructed the meaning of it. I don't know if this is the same what Kristi and you had in mind, would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for the response.


  3. It's interesting. I was talking to Jo-Ann (another teacher at my school) about this today too, and I'm really not sure. As we said, I don't think that there's one “right way” to do this. Regardless of if it's an official provocation (and of that I'm really not sure), your activity got students thinking and sharing their thinking. They're making connections. This is the purpose of a provocation anyway. Maybe that's what matters the most. Maybe this is a case where it's better not to get caught up in the language. What do you think?



  4. Math is always hard when it comes to provocations. I find myself using pictures (Kristi told me about the 101 questions website, and there's a ton of great photographs and videos there) or groupings of manipulatives with some general questions. I'm still playing with this. You want to give your students enough information, but not too much information. As Kristi said at our PD session the other day, “Inquiry is about having the students do the thinking, instead of you doing the thinking for them.” With that in mind, I think that your provocation worked well, as the students were definitely the ones doing the thinking.

    I'm sure we'll be talking about this more during the year!


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