Well, this summer at the modeling workshop I attended, we talked a lot about the fact that kids are often looking for quick answers in math and physics. While this is preferable to not looking for anything, I’m starting to learn that kids don’t get anything from memorizing formulas or simple procedures, but they have a real chance at understanding if I’m just willing to let them struggle. So I decided that I would make one of my goals for this year to not give in when a student says “just tell me the answer already!” Hence my tagline (which I pronounce “NEVERRRR!!!!” in my head every time I see it :). To me, it means “kids, you have to figure it out”.
I got my first test yesterday when I presented a lesson on scientific methods. It involved a tube and some strings that do some crazy stuff. Here’s an example (not sure who to credit the original idea to). Their mission was to figure it out and explain it to me. Man, did they want to know when they would get to see inside that tube! Guess what my answer was.
Also, I just gotta throw this out there: my first day algebra lesson killed! It was awesome! I never thought I could get kids having real conversations with each other about math! on day one. What started as “think of two numbers that add up to 20” quickly turned into this:
It was like they were demanding that I not skip any steps on the ladder of abstraction. Got em right where I want em 😉 Let’s start doin’ some math!