SOS: And The Number Is

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This strategy was inspired and provided by Discovery Education community member and 5th grade teacher Rodney Crouse from North Carolina

And The Number Is

PDF and Vignette Version


SOS Big IdeaThis strategy encourages students to become more aware of mathematics that they encounter in their daily lives. Students become engaged in listening and watching for numbers in a preselected video segment and then use those numbers to generate word problems for math.



SOS Steps
Materials: video segment, paper, writing utensils
  1. Select an engaging video segment that relates to an area of student interest or content being studied in other subject areas.
  2. Have students watch the video segment the first time with the goal of understanding the content.
  3. Have a short debrief to sum up the main idea and supporting details from the selection.
  4. Replay the video segment and ask students to jot down numbers they hear that are relevant to the content.
  5. Give students 23 minutes to create a word problem based on their new knowledge. For example, when using the Discovery Education video Chipmunks: Gathering Acorns,” possible questions are: 
    • A Chipmunk gathers 6,000 nuts.  Winter lasts for 91 days.  How many nuts could a chipmunk eat per day, per meal, if they eat the same amount at each mean three times a day?
    • If a chipmunk’s head is 5 cm, and its cheeks can stretch up to three times bigger than its head, how wide can a chipmunk’s cheeks stretch?
  6. Have students partner up and answer each other’s questions or post the questions around the room and have students select the questions they want to answer. 
  7. Have students record their work in a math journal or with their partners or classmates.

SOS Sum It UpThis activity actively engages students as they pay attention to numbers in media that they are listening to or watching.  Additionally, it encourages them to creatively incorporate their own understanding of current math concepts being taught.



SOS More IdeasProvide scaffolding for students that may have difficulty identifying numbers that can be crafted into math questions by encouraging them to work in cooperative groups.  Have the groups start by making a list of numbers they hear and then discussing how those numbers could be used in mathematical expressions.





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One Comment;

  1. Deb Thonus said:

    Great idea! Students love chance and choice. The SOS cube is generic enough to use with almost any topic. I appreciate the blank cube template for customizing for any use. Thanks DE and the DEN SOS members!

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