## Friday, May 15, 2015

### Room 401

It was one of those crazy Fridays. A couple teachers weren't covered, so I walked into this 4th period 7th grade math class cold. And the lesson plans were a little sparse.

The kiddos finished the worksheet in 15 minutes.

Well, I do have a math game...

It's a pretty simple time killer. I put them into teams (in the past I've let the teams pick their own names), and then each team gets a chance to guess the number I've thought of. It's a three-digit number with no repeating digits (a number such as 982, 670, 251, etc). I let them know if they got any correct digits as well as if any are in the correct spot in the number.

Once they get the idea, they really get into it.

So, I had to come up with a number. And since I had just arrived to the classroom, the classroom number was on my mind. But they'd figure that out in a heartbeat, right?

Um, no.

It took them more than a dozen guesses. They got close a couple times. One team guessed 409. When I gave them that 2 of the digits were correct and those 2 digits were in the correct spots, I was sure someone would get it. But first they guessed 405 (they were sure 5 was in the number), 406, and 402. And in the midst of this, one team gave me 509. (They wouldn't let go of that 5.)

Finally, at about guess 16, one team gave me the number.

And I pointed out that the number was the room number.

Of course, most of the time the kiddos have no idea what room number they're in. Seriously.

(A student asks for a pass to go back to a previous class to retrieve something they've forgotten. I ask what room. They hem and haw. I ask which teacher. That they usually know. And I'll write the teacher's name on the pass. Or I'll know the room number from the teacher's name. This happens so frequently that it's barely worth remarking about.)

#### 22 comments:

1. How can they not know the room number? How do they find the class the first day of school?

2. LOL, I must be OCD because I knew room numbers and teacher names but panicked at remembering my locker combination!

betty

1. I was always paranoid I'd forget my locker combo!

3. Oh Lord! But I'm not surprised.

1. They know where the room is.

4. Ha! Maybe they'll be more careful about looking at what room they're in. But probably not :P

5. I can't imagine not knowing what room # I was in.

6. Haha, I can't say I'm surprised! :)

1. I shouldn't have been.

7. The room number thing reminds me of how I never know the names of the streets in the city I live in. I've been in Madison for 20 years now, and still am unsure of all the streets around the Capitol, where I worked for 12 years. It's because after a while you stop paying attention to them and rely on other markers, I figure. The students are probably the same way.

As to why they didn't get the room number earlier -- maybe they thought you were tricking them by picking a number deliberately close to the room number? Sometimes the obvious answer is the one people least want to go for, psyching themselves out. It's a variation of the reason why soccer players, on a free kick, never kick the ball straight forward. There was a whole study about this: the most obvious and easiest kick is straight forward, because the goalie is almost always going to leap right or left at the first sign of movement. But the kicker doesn't trust statistics, and doesn't want to look foolish by kicking the ball straight ahead, and so the kick goes right or left, too.

http://freakonomics.com/2010/06/14/what-to-do-with-your-penalty-kick/

Eve since I read that, I've tried to catch times that we don't do the right thing because it seems stupid to do it that way.

1. You're right about the other markers thing. I know that's how they know where to go. They no longer look at the number.

Only one student groaned when I mentioned it was the room number. I think she probably thought I was trying to trick her. The rest of them were oblivious.

8. Good thinking on how to keep the students occupied. I'm astonished they don't know the room mumbers. How do they find their classes?

Sunni

http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

1. They know where the room is located. They probably knew the room numbers at the beginning of the year, but this is May. They know how to get there now.

9. Well, thinking back, I never knew the room number but I knew which hallway and which room to enter so I am just as guilty if I am to be honest

10. I don't know if I knew the room numbers, especially later in the year. You paid attention early on but after a few weeks, you just automatically breezed into the different rooms. Plus, don't they usually have teacher names on the doorways? So I could see them just looking for the name of the teacher rather than the room #.

1. No, no teacher names on doorways. But I take your point.

11. I loved playing number games with my students. The most successful was "Greater than or Less than".

1. I do not know that game.

12. It sounds like a fun game and a good way to keep them amused.

Yvonne

1. Some days the lesson just goes a little short.

13. When I started at university I quickly learned that the first number in a room number was the floor (there would be a letter at the beginning to tell you the building number), then the next two would be the room number.

There were certain room numbers which I had classes in each year, but even though they were really familiar to me and I could find them with my eyes closed, I never forgot the numbers. I could probably still tell you most of them now, hehe.

I can't imagine not knowing what the room numbers were of a room I went to virtually every day!

14. I know. I'd've been shocked if I hadn't encountered the phenomena before. In our case, the first digit of the room number isn't the floor, because there are no floors. Everything is on ground level.

I appreciate your comments.

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