It’s unfortunate that student don’t get to use their innate perceptual skills more often in the classroom. Instead of discovering patterns on their own, students are “taught” to memorize patterns developed by someone else. Rather than do the messy work of having to figure out what’s going on, students are saddled with graphic organizers which take all the thinking out of the exercise.
"Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant" captures the fascination of patterns in nature. Discover more patterns from Vi Hart - Mathemusician
We devised an experiential project, “Complex City” in order to help students think critically about their communities. To help students to become more aware of their surroundings, in order to foster an educated, ethical, and empathetic community. To facilitate opportunities that help students translate experiences, investigations, and ideas into artistic renderings that effectively communicate new knowledge.
In asking them to map an area of San Diego that had significance to them, we wanted them to step back from the familiar aspects of their community and city, and translate those aspects into a visual map. As part of this project, students researched, interviewed, and investigated their city and community in myriad ways. By compiling their work and making collective and idiosyncratic maps of San Diego, they have been challenged to rethink what they understood to be the reality of the built environment around them, as well as to accept the new knowledges that their classmates contribute. They have become more invested in their own community because their new knowledge implicates them as involved citizens. These maps collect particular versions of this place (versions not always visible to others, or in traditional maps) as we see it in the fall/winter of 2011.
Is our goal to have students performing better on standardized tests or to be prepared for what they are going to encounter in college and life? The ideal would be that they would be prepared for both. So the questions become, what do we want to leave the students with? How are we going to prepare them for the real world? What do we want them to learn about themselves? And how do we do it? To clear the air, I don’t believe that students are taking my calculus class because they need help doubling a recipe or balancing their checkbook. I believe it is because we want to expose students to the poetry of numbers, to have a new outlook on how to solve problems, to be able to think outside of the box, and to see how the unbreakable human spirit has conquered problems that once mystified the greatest of thinkers. Like any great symphony, mathematics represents a pinnacle of human creativity. We teach math to enrich the lives of our students in a way akin to reading poetry or composing music. This is the story of a student-created exhibit showcasing the beauty, humanity and intrigue behind math in history, philosophy and the applied arts.
Here’s a step by step guide to “flipping the classroom.” Students assist in the selection of video content for posting online. Student then watch content on their own time. Class time is then devoted to problem solving – with the teacher acting as a guide to teams of students. It’s like a “TiVo time shift” that can reshape your classroom. Additional resources and links provided.
In these examples student have to first ask the question – what information do I need to solve this problem? The textbook usually gives you that information. But here students build the problem and decide what matters. The question that’s usually buried at the bottom – it’s the last thing in the textbook problem – now becomes the first thing in the student’s mind. I want to make that question “irresistible” to the student, so they have to know the answer.
During this summer program students entering eighth grade were coached by an intern in ways to investigate and talk about the math in their lives. Watch the video to learn the four strategies and hear what students discovered in their own words. “I see math when I’m walking down the street…. I see math in myself.”
Let’s see how the Duncan sidesteps the issue of testing and innovation – while US students spend endless hours honing their test taking skills, the demand for routine skills has disappeared from the workplace. Anyone know of a meaningful and rewarding career that looks like filling out a worksheet? Maybe Friedman will be willing to tackle the stifling impact of testing on creativity thinking among our students.
I recently saw this video clip from an old Abbott and Costello film. It reminds us that math isn’t simply about learning a computational process, or getting the right answer. It’s pretty clear that Lou Costello has learned the wrong algorithm, and he defends his approach it with great determination. We learn math skills so that we can apply mathematical thinking to the problem solving we will need in our lives. Thus, much can be learned from the procedures we use to generate both the “correct” and the “incorrect” answer. Sharing our thinking with others allows us to negotiate a deeper understanding of algorithms and their application in the real world.
Recently I blogged about the teacher-centric information flow in the traditional classroom. See: Engage Student Discussion: Use the Social Network in Your Classroom If you would like to see my point illustrated, you can do a quick "Hollywood classroom walkthrough" with this clip from "Stand and Deliver." Before you play the video, create a diagram with [...]
I am proud of my life-long career in public education - especially the 25 years I spent as a teacher. For over 20 years, I have worked with school districts, state DOEs, leading educational organizations and companies to improve the quality of teaching and learning. I provide training and consulting services across the United States and internationally.
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