This guest post was written by Kristin Owens, Assistant Director of STEM area. Why is math class not the setting for most made-for-TV movies? Frankly, it is often lacking many of the elements we find most entertaining: suspense, drama, edge-of-your-seat action. TV audiences are not particularly engaged by lectures, note-taking, and example problems. And neither are students. An approach called productive struggle could change that! What is productive struggle? Imagine a group of students hunched around a worksheet containing a set of block figures. Each figure has the same shape, but the number of blocks in each increases consistently from the first figure to the last. The students must formulate an equation to calculate the number of blocks in each figure. And that is the extent of their instructions. While you may not be on the edge of your seat, the opening scene has set the stage for an exercise in productive struggle. Watch what happens next! The process of productive struggle Now that the teacher has assigned the worksheet, this is how the process of productive struggle [...]
How often do teachers or administrators hear those dreaded words, “Will we ever use this again?” or “Why are we learning this?”. Learning skills separate from their real world situations can make it difficult for students to understand the post-academic applications. Project-based learning could be the answer to all of these questions and more. What is Project-Based Learning? Project-based learning (PBL) asks students to explore an engaging, complex question or problem. To demonstrate what they have discovered, students create a presentation or real-world product for a real audience. This approach asks students to dive deeper into the learning process and relate it to the world at large. PBL shows students what they learn in the classroom is relevant and essential. Benefits Because PBL is a student-centered approach, the benefits are extensive. PBL allows students to have a louder voice in their learning. Students are able to decide what they focus on and how that information will be presented in the end. This level of ownership and responsibility encourages students to go deeper. This in-depth exploration of [...]
Math class is a great place to teach the attention to detail and scrupulous checking of work that make these endeavors successful.
Today's discussion is on the third Math Practice Standard: Construct viable arguments and critique the arguments of others.
Previously, I've written about some of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice. Today I'll focus on tightly-linked Standards 2 and 4: Reason abstractly and quantitatively and model with mathematics.
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Students today need math to teach them how to approach unfamiliar problems, select and apply prior knowledge and tools, and clearly communicate their reasoning.
We need to develop the skills of STEM workers to prepare for the rapid growth in STEM job opportunities.