Think Tank Thursday Livens Up Math

There’s a new way of doing math in Mrs. Moore’s fourth grade classroom, known as Think Tank Thursdays.  The students are allowed to use washable markers to write on their desks – converting their whole desk space into erasable white boards.

“We’re doing some cool math and they can show their work with area models,” said Sue Moore.
The method provides lots of space for students to spread out their work, choose whatever color marker to work in, and more easily spot their mistakes.  The paper-saving measure for this exercise eliminates the need for scrap paper and the desks are easily wiped down when students have finished.
“It’s fun and it’s a creative way to show your work,” said fourth grader Anna Danzoia.  “In our workbook, you don’t have a lot of space so (this way) you can show your work and do problems,” said Danzoia.

For classmate Julian Wheeler, being told to write on his desk was a bit disconcerting at first.
“Think Tank Thursday is a really fun day and the first time I felt freaked out because at home I’m not supposed to write on the walls or on the ceiling, but then it felt really cool because it can be erased,” said Wheeler.  “Our Envisions Math book is so squeezed in with words so there’s no space to do your work,” said Wheeler.

“We can start something new and when you’re done, wipe down the desk with a damp towel,” said Wheeler.  “When I saw it comes off, it calmed me down,” said Wheeler. “That’s what I think about Think Tank Thursday.”
Wheeler took some time to demonstrate area models and partial products with a math problem from his workbook.
Moore said the erasable marker work on the desks can also be used with English/Language Arts studies, such as graphic organizers.