Projects vs Problems in Math Class

What is the difference between a Problem and a Project? While it is difficult to draw a definitive line that separates one from the other, the attributes of each and their differences as I see them are: Problems Require less student time to complete (usually less than an hour) Focus on a single task, with fewer…… Continue reading Projects vs Problems in Math Class

Ten Skills Every Student Should Learn

A recent eSchool News article by Meris Stansbury lists ten skills cited by its readers as being most important for today’s students to acquire: Read Type Write Communicate effectively, and with respect Question Be resourceful Be accountable Know how to learn Think critically Be happy The list is interesting to ponder. I would not argue that any…… Continue reading Ten Skills Every Student Should Learn

Game-like Engagement

A New York Times Magazine article titled “Games Theory” (September 19, 2010) mentioned some interesting points: – “going to school can and should be more like playing a game, which is to say it could be made more participatory, more immersive and also, well, fun.” – One way to “make school more relevant and engaging” to…… Continue reading Game-like Engagement

Eight Attributes of Effective Activities, Problems, or Projects

A continuum of activity types are used in classrooms around the world.  They range in duration from long (weeks or months) to short (seconds or minutes), from “projects” to “problems”. There are differing styles of activities, ranging from context-rich to almost context-free. There are also differing roles for activities in a curriculum: they can serve as…… Continue reading Eight Attributes of Effective Activities, Problems, or Projects

Where’s the mistake?

I have started a separate blog devoted to helping students learn to find mistakes in worked problems (their own, or someone else’s). If this is of interest, check it out: 7/17/11 Update: There can be great value in work that contains mistakes. Learning to catch your own mistakes is a critical life skill, as is…… Continue reading Where’s the mistake?

Standards Based Grading Trial

After reading a number of blog postings about Standards Based Grading (SBG), I tried a hybrid version of it during the Fall semester of 2010 in an Algebra I class and three Algebra II classes. What follows is a description of how I approached things, what worked, and what didn’t. Grading Policy Approximately 40% of…… Continue reading Standards Based Grading Trial

Uncover the Hidden Game

The title of this posting is the title of a chapter in “Making Learning Whole”, by David Perkins (2009), which I mentioned in my previous posting.  I recommend it highly. What is the “hidden game” in High School mathematics? What mindsets, approaches, techniques, etc. do those comfortable with the work asked of them rely upon, yet…… Continue reading Uncover the Hidden Game

Student Response Clickers

I am researching student response clickers, in hopes of using them in Algebra I and II classes this fall. Companies To date I have come across six companies that offer them: eInstruction iRespond Qwizdom Renaissance Learning Smartroom Turning Technologies I have found internet references to the following vendors being used at the following universities: eInstruction…… Continue reading Student Response Clickers

ConcepTests and Peer Instruction

I just came across this 1 hour and 20 minute video of Eric Mazur talking about using the Force Concept Inventory to teach physics, advocating “peer instruction”, and presenting data from his courses before and after he changed his instructional techniques. This is great stuff.  My teaching and learning experiences have convinced me wholeheartedly that these…… Continue reading ConcepTests and Peer Instruction

Procedural vs Intuitive Approaches

Both procedural and intuitive approaches to problem-solving are useful and important. As students begin to learn algebraic approaches to solving problems that feel very procedural, the challenge is to help students maintain their intuitive problem-solving skills while also developing an intuitive sense of why algebraic approaches work.