This was a super simple math talk to start off our math lesson. However, it was also very informative to hear students thoughts and answers. I try to start each math period with a quick math question and then we discuss students answers and strategies. The discussion is student led. For this number talk, I simply showed students the number 8 and asked them to show me everything they knew about the number on their board. (Each student had their own white board and marker.) Generally for math talks, it is intended to be mental math (so no white boards), but I find there is a lot of value in using them sometimes.
I think that math talks are so valuable because I get a glimpse into students thinking and they get to share it with the class. To tell me about the number 8 several students drew 8 dots or squares. This is simple, but shows that they can represent the number and understand the number’s value. Other students wrote out the numbers 1-8 to show its place in a number line. (I also like this answer because they showed that they could print their numbers from 1-8!)
There are always a few answers that I am hoping for that some students come up. I am always excited for them to share these answers with their peers. A few students represented the number 8 by adding 4 and 4 together. The more number talks we do, the more I begin to see these kinds of answers. Students begin to think of different and challenging ways to represent the numbers and are excited to share them. In turn, their peers learn from them and begin to apply them to their thinking and strategies over time.