I had a beautiful conversation erupt during math time today.
Here was the problem:
They were solving with a partial products array (they're not quite ready for traditional or standard algorithms for multiplication) and a very loud, very passionate conversation erupted. One student argued that having the "zero tens" row in the second factor (409) wasn't necessary. Another passionately disagreed.
Soon, I lost the whole class to this beautiful, loud conversation about if zero is a value or simply a place holder.
Did it need to be represented?
Could it be skipped? Always?
I reeled them back in after about five minutes of debate, much to the horror of the original instigators who hadn't successfully defended their perspectives.
What a beautiful, natural example of the math practices coming to life.
Now, where was admin?! That would have been a lovely example of math discourse in the classroom for my end of year evaluation.