Algebraic Thinking and Proportional Reasoning Day #2 (August 8, 2017)

We began with a review of the math homework and then discussion about the burning questions:  “How can using this thinking of not looking for answers but explanations help shape our mathematical thinking?” and “Is there such thing as having a “math brain;” meaning a brain that is able to easily understand the math process?”

I found some articles about “the math brain” and mathematical thinking that I will share below:

‘Not a Math Person’: How to Remove Obstacles to Learning Math

A couple of quotes from these:

  • “Most of the things that parents and kids believe about math learning are wrong,” said Dr. Boaler, who is the co-founder of Youcubed, a website that argues for a revolution in math teaching for all children, and offers resources to teachers, students and parents. In fact, maybe what everyone needs — girls and boys both — is a different kind of math teaching, with much less emphasis on timed tests, and more attention to teaching math as a visual subject, and as a place for creativity.
  • “The lovely thing is when you change math education and make it more about deep conceptual understanding, the gender differences disappear,” Dr. Boaler said. “Boys and girls both do well.”
  • “Recently, a colleague’s 7-year-old came home from school and announced he didn’t like math anymore. His mom asked why and he said, ‘math is too much answering and not enough learning.’  This story demonstrates how clearly kids understand that unlike their other courses, math is a performative subject, where their job is to come up with answers quickly. Boaler says that if this approach doesn’t change, the U.S. will always have weak math education.”

    Another burning question was to think more about problem 3c on page 7 and I suggested using Excel to create the arrays for the division and the remainder.

Charles began with the mathematical content on page 10 of block 1.  There was good discussion about the inverse and how a function can be its own inverse.

We spent some time practicing our questioning techniques and trying to use focusing questions to dig into the thinking processes of our students instated of funneling questions that lead to a certain type of thought process.

Pedagogy homework:

Read the article “Questioning our Pattern of Questioning” and think about the types of questions we asked in our pairings.  Also percolate on the question – is it ever ok to use funneling questions?  Tomorrow we will talk more about it.

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