In my previous post, I discussed one way to provide tasks that help students reimagine the discipline of mathematics: doing creative math. This post discusses the second of three strategies: doing useful math. To me, the interesting thing about math is that it is at once a plaything with seemingly no utility and an immensely … Continue reading Three Strategies to Help Improve Students’ Conception of Math – Part 2: Do Useful Math

## A Problem Based Learning Starter Kit

You've seen the tasks. You've read the research. You're basically bought in. But how do you begin? More importantly, how do you introduce students to inquiry driven learning? Or maybe you're not convinced. Perhaps you maintain that the teacher is the primary knowledge constructor. Perhaps you've been burned in the past by inquiry driven instruction. … Continue reading A Problem Based Learning Starter Kit

## A non-linear approach to curriculum mapping

I often hear teachers and parents talk about how math skills build on each other in a way that other subjects do not: you have to know how to add before you can subtract, you have to know how to multiply before you use exponents. This is certainly true to an extent, however, I'm wondering … Continue reading A non-linear approach to curriculum mapping

## Kicking things off: How do I start the facilitation of a problem?

So you've decided to undertake inquiry-based learning. That's great. I'm really glad you see the inherent value in having students swim through a challenging problem on their own a bit before the teacher jumps in with instruction. I'm also glad you've been creative at creating new mathematical tasks with cool entry videos, perplexing pictures, and … Continue reading Kicking things off: How do I start the facilitation of a problem?

## “Isn’t Problem Based Learning easier than Project Based Learning?” and 10 other myths about PrBL. (“Real or not real”)

About a year ago, I started advocating and pushing towards a Problem Based approach in mathematics, as opposed to a solely Project Based approach, which many/most of my peers currently employ. But before we go any further, let's better parse the differences between Project- (PBL) and Problem-Based Learning (PrBL). I realize that different people define and … Continue reading “Isn’t Problem Based Learning easier than Project Based Learning?” and 10 other myths about PrBL. (“Real or not real”)

## Problem Based Learning, start-to-finish, in Ten Minutes

Want to learn more about Problem Based Learning but don't have time to read several posts with graphics? Want to see what a student-centered math unit looks like from start to finish, but would prefer to see it visually and hear it in a nasally voice? Well, look no further, my friends! I recorded a … Continue reading Problem Based Learning, start-to-finish, in Ten Minutes

## Inquiry-based mathematics: the posing of a problem is only the beginning of the problem-posing process.

We've been exploring some of the steps to an inquiry-based lesson in mathematics recently. In the last post, I tossed out a few .png images and laid out a few general steps in preparation for actually getting into the meat of inquiry-based mathematics instruction. Which we'll do so starting today. Step 1: Posing a problem … Continue reading Inquiry-based mathematics: the posing of a problem is only the beginning of the problem-posing process.

## An oversimplified model of an inquiry-based lesson, with visual aids

Last week, I mentioned that, having begun to attempt to slay one of the two giants of inquiry-based math instruction, I’d be steering into a potentially trickier aspect of inquiry based instruction: namely that of instruction and facilitation. Most of us learned math like this. We have decades of evidence suggesting that this method of … Continue reading An oversimplified model of an inquiry-based lesson, with visual aids

## Inquiry-Based instruction, in a PNG-nutshell

In talking to math teachers about an Inquiry- , Project- , or Problem-Based approach, these are the following questions that come up most often. 1) "How am I supposed to cover all the standards using this approach?" and, 2) "So, when do I actually teach?" An attempt at the first question is reflected in the … Continue reading Inquiry-Based instruction, in a PNG-nutshell