The link to our group interview is here.
Ryan, Toni, and I all worked with separate groups of kindergarteners on math problems assessing their number sense. The student I chose to focus on really enjoyed doing the math problems, and when they were done asked if I had “more math” for her to work on. Although she struggled with the problems as I stated in the interview, she made multiple attempts to solve each one. I found that tactile approaches worked best for her. She was able to reason her way to the answer more easily if she had a physical manipulative to make sense of the problem posed to her.
I think I had underestimated how important the physical representation of a math problem is for children the younger that they are. Abstract reasoning is much harder for younger children, and having concrete objects to represent concepts helps cement the problem in reality. My student did much better when I provided her with a physical shape to represent the cookie and allowed her to draw on it or fold it as she saw fit. In the future, I need to keep in mind that different grade levels require different approaches to thinking and understanding.