Author Archives: Geoff

Post-It Problem: Grades 2-3

If imitation is the purest form of flattery, then Graham should be pretty darned flattered. I imitated (read: stole) his The Big Pad problem for slightly younger grades. Graham’s task necessitates fractions, which was a bit further down the line for my … Continue reading

Posted in elementary, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Systems of Linear Inequalities: Paleontological Dig

(Editor’s note: the original post and activity mistook Paleontology for Archaeology. Archaeology is the study of human made fossils; paleontology is the study of dinosaur remains. The terminology has since been corrected and updated. Thanks to the commenters for the … Continue reading

Posted in algebra, linear functions, linear inequalities, problem based learning, systems of equations, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Is bad context worse than no context?

In elementary classes we consider it a good thing to be able to move from the abstract to the concrete. We ask students to count and perform arithmetic on objects, even contrived ones. We ask students to group socks, slice … Continue reading

Posted in commentary, problem based learning, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

What does it mean to be problem based? An attempt to unwind “PrBL.”

Despite an increased awareness of this thing called “Problem-Based Learning,” (PBL/PrBL) there’s some nebulousness in what that word “based” means. Does it mean that students learn content within a problem? Does it mean students are honing their problem solving skills? If … Continue reading

Posted in problem based learning, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Math and the Message

“This isn’t right,” she says. “This can’t be right. All my friends got Math 7.” My soon-to-be 6th Grade daughter is near trembling as she held her the schedule for the upcoming school year. She compares her paper with friends who were both part … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Using August inservice to plan for May

In case you hadn’t noticed, school is starting soon for many teachers and students. Some have already started! Much of teachers’ inservice time is gobbled up by sometimes-helpful, sometimes-not professional development, new school procedures, supply gathering and those other necessities … Continue reading

Posted in problem based learning, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just how high was the Big Thompson Flood? And how often will a flood like that occur?

Recently, the family and I were taking in an afternoon in Boulder, CO. After taking in a lunch at the lovely Dushanbe Tea Room we took a stroll along Boulder Creek. Right by a retaining wall stands this object. This … Continue reading

Posted in proportion | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Home Stretch

Teaching in Texas, there was always this weird interim period between the end of standardized exams and final exams around this time of year. Usually this time spanned for about three weeks or so, during which disengagement was rampant. On … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A presentation format for deeper student questioning and universal engagement

(Editor’s note: this post is part of my not-necessarily math related posts. I spend a good portion of time in non-math classes these days. And thank goodness, because it exposes me to practices that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced.) I had … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Portfolio Problems: Rebuilding Assessment with Rich Tasks

We have the technology. We can rebuild assessment. We can make it better than it was. Better, stronger, more accurate. We all understand how assessment has served as a destructive force in our classrooms. And we’re all to blame. While … Continue reading

Posted in assessment | 4 Comments