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Kristin Sarboukh April 15, 2013 Field Report Three

Every single child has the ability to understand big mathematical ideas. However, the process to go about this understand may be different for everyone. No single person thinks exactly alike and understands the same things in the same ways. Because of this, it is very crucial to allow children to work with inquiry-based tasks. These tasks allow students to gather data from an activity and then use it to come up with the own solution their own way. No answer is flat out given to them; they must use the facts to discover the solution for themselves. Because of this, inquiry-based tasks are the best way to really assess a childs mathematical understanding. This is why for my third field report, a mathematical profile of an individual child, I chose to use the Ice Cream inquiry-based problem. The Ice Cream problem is a very rich problem for multiple reasons. It requires students to take two flavors of ice cream and three toppings and figure out how many different ways the ice cream can be made. With such little instruction, students are able to do this problem in a variety of ways. It also elicits many important mathematical ideas such as creating combinations that are not order specific, showing how adding just one other possible topping creates a multiplicative effect of combinations, and showing how combinations can be applied to real-life situations that are meaningful for children. These require higher order thinking and can be solved at the discretion of the student. However, because of this, there may be many misconceptions. Some students may first look at this problem and think it is about order; they may first start out by putting the ice cream and toppings in difference sequences rather than understanding the ice