Students begin by placing their fists on their chest and begin thinking of ways to solve the problem. Once a student has solved the problem using a strategy, they extend their thumb from the fist that is against the chest.
Students will continue to solve the problem using a different strategy and will extend another finger (now showing the thumb and index finger against their chest) indicating to the teacher they have solved the problem using two different strategies.
Once the teacher has scanned the room looking for thumbs up or a good amount of time they will ask for students to raise their hand and share the answer to the problem as the teacher writes them on the board (students like to go into sharing their strategy right away but we have to hold off until we have all the possible solutions students came up with).
Students then decide which answer they would like to defend and begin sharing their strategy to solving the questions as the teacher writes out the strategy on the board (it is important for the teacher to use models that best suit the strategy and ensure they do not steer the students thinking to where the teacher wants it to go).
Classmates may agree or disagree with their peer’s strategy and can explain why.
The teacher can select one or two more students to defend a different solution or the same solutions but using a different strategy.
As I used Number Talks in my classroom, we continually ran into the same four problems that included a lack of time, difficulty of questions, sharing opportunities and constantly using the same strategies.