## Monday, December 21, 2015

### Intro to the Bar Model

I taught my best math lesson of the year last week. This was quite unexpected for three reasons. 1) Math has been my nemesis this year, (I'll refrain from explaining all the reasons why. It's complicated.) 2) I've never taught this lesson before. 3) Beyond a few pointers, I've never had the training to teach it.

For several years I've heard heard bits and pieces about the bar model - how it teaches our youngest mathematicians to visualize problems and transitions them into the number line. I never felt like I had enough information to introduce the concept though. This Fall I got a few pointers which helped me develop this lesson, and it really did work. Phew.

I developed the above Google slide presentation which took my kids through the lesson. (Click on the graphic if you'd like to see it.)

Other than the presentation, it was a simple lesson to plan for. My kids had access to red and blue cubes as well as blank paper. This is what one mathematician's final product looked like, although it probably won't mean much unless you check out the slides above.

I had the opportunity to share this lesson with a math guru from BSU a few days ago. He was very pleased with the components of the lesson and how I took my kids through the process of discovering the bar model. The only recommendation he made concerned the first row of cubes seen on the child's paper. Instead of labeling the individual cubes from 1 to 5, he suggested they be labeled each as 1s since they are units of 1, and I totally agreed. (I edited the slide presentation accordingly.)

Maybe this information will be helpful for someone out there who has been wanting to introduce the bar model to their little mathematicians as well. I'm also in the process of developing further lessons. I'd be happy to share those in the near future as well. Happy bar modeling!

1. Thank you so much for sharing! I am excited to share this post with my teammate! I can't wait to hear the lasting effect of the lesson.

1. Em, thanks so much. I'm still kind of making this up as I go, but I do hope it helps my kids make some important connections.

2. I'm very happy for your success! Math is often tricky for me, too. I'm not familiar with the bar model ... will have to look into it.
Merry Christmas, Tammy!

1. Barb, the bar model comes from Singapore. I'm hoping to get a handle on how to use it like they do. :)

3. I hadn't heard of the bar method. I like this very much and how it moves the students from thinking of individual units into whole unit groups.

1. Lori, it's definitely useful for that purpose and helping kids conceptually visualize a problem. Hopefully that's what they get out of this. :)

4. Bar model is new to me too! I'm going to have to look at it. When I saw "bar model" I had something else in mind!! Hope your year is off to a great start!!
Jenny

1. Jenny, not THAT kind of bar model. :) Seriously though, it's an interesting tool. I'm still learning how to use it.