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 intended audience, roughly grades two or three. In this task, the giant Post-It is 15 … Continue reading Post-It Problem: Grades 2-3
(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 newfound knowledge.) Here's an activity on systems of inequalities that teaches or reinforces the following concepts: … Continue reading Systems of Linear Inequalities: Paleontological Dig
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 pizzas, and describe snowballs. A critical person might suggest these are all examples of pseudo-context, … Continue reading Is bad context worse than no context?
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 one were to ask me "what makes a lesson problem-based?" I honestly don't have a … Continue reading What does it mean to be problem based? An attempt to unwind “PrBL.”
"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 of her peer group as well has having the last name L through S. This … Continue reading Math and the Message
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 that come along with having a captive staff for perhaps the only time all year. … Continue reading Using August inservice to plan for May
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 monument demarcates how high the waters rise for a flood of various magnitude. Zooming in … Continue reading Just how high was the Big Thompson Flood? And how often will a flood like that occur?
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 top of this calendar quirk was the general end-of-school jitters, a mix of euphoria and … Continue reading The Home Stretch
(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 the pleasure of sitting in on some student presentations on a recent site visit to … Continue reading A presentation format for deeper student questioning and universal engagement
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 the obvious perpetrators of destructive assessment are those foisted upon us by states and districts, … Continue reading Portfolio Problems: Rebuilding Assessment with Rich Tasks