This Week at Global Math – 2/4/20







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Edited By Casey McCormick  @cmmteach

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Meeting the Need of Introverts in the Collaborative Classroom

Presented by Megan Dubee

The rise of classroom collaboration turned rows into pods, lecture into cooperative learning, and individuals into teams. Despite the many benefits of collaborative classrooms, some students’ needs are not being met. Motivated by Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, we will explore strategies to increase classroom inclusivity by creating a space where students feel empowered to participate in ways aligned with their personalities and challenged to take risks in their learning.

To join us at 9:00 PM EST for this webinar click here!

Next Week 


Building Human Themes into your Teaching of Math

Presented by Francis Su

Doing mathematical work sometimes feels like drudgery, and that’s often because we’ve taken ‘real math’ out of math homework. Mathematics isn’t memorization or calculation (though those can be helpful to do doing math)… rather, math is exploration, and that’s a deep human desire we all have. Students will be more motivated to learn mathematics if you appeal to their basic human desires, such as: for exploration, for play, for beauty, for truth, for struggle, for community. We’ll explore practical ways to build human themes into the teaching of mathematics. Bring one example of a lesson or a homework that you’d like to modify.

Register ahead of time by clicking here!

You can always check out past and upcoming Global Math Department webinars. Click here for the archives or get the webinars in podcast form!

From the World of Math Ed

Chewy Problems

I received a direct message from a friend this week who was feeling uneasy about the new curriculum approach his school had taken on. He sent me a link to the homepage of the company and it read something like this:

  • Improved test scores

  • Improved grades

  • Improved teacher morale

Do I want all of those things? Absolutely. What bothered me wasn’t what was there, but what was missing. The specific company zeroes in on a pedagogical model that emphasizes the dispersion of knowledge from the teacher to the students with some worrying infographics to support the teacher-centric nature of it (I say “worrying” because of the easy, click-and-fit vision of teaching it is promoting). He asked me if I had anything I could send him, something to read, which might help discredit the notion that there is a one-size fits all approach to teaching, where teachers will tell and students will listen and learn. I sent him two recommendations, not necessarily to discredit, but rather tap into what I felt was missing, what the approach leaves out, and the subsequent “benefits” it omits. The two readings were:

Both are not new or unknown by many in the field, but both promote a model that is varied and unfixed, adaptable and flexible, and connected to the genuine curiosity that students and teachers bring to the classroom. Lockhart captures the passion many teachers have for mathematics but don’t feel empowered to instill into their students, restrained by imposed structures and rigid frameworks. Lampert presents a case for instruction that makes room for students (and teachers) to zig-zag between ideas, make connections between the known and unknown, and grow to understand the notion of “cross-country” mathematics.

They both include what I call, “chewy problems.” Chewy problems always have a little bit more to find out about, the type of problems that become even more interesting when you consider it from another angle or approach it in a different way. They require significant chewing. These come in a few forms, many of which you wouldn’t expect to see from a curriculum provider for some understandable reasons; they depend on teacher expertise, they are often best done on paper (or scraps of paper), students tend to take their own path and sometimes end up tackling a completely different problem, and (here’s the real kicker) students might not even “solve” them at all. These problems are, however, just opportunities for students to experience mathematics in the ways described by Lampert and Lockhart. They require students to make sense of the problem, form and refute conjectures, or even completely walk away from it for an idea to surface from their subconscious. I’ve picked out three different ones that popped up on my feed over the past week or so, which I believe get better the more you chew. 

 

Eddie Woo (@misterwootube) came right out of the gates with the more interesting question of “well, yes – we know it can be solved but how many solutions exist?



AMSI Schools (@AMSIschools and @cass_lowry) presented this problem which invites students’ imagination when you look at it at a different angle 😉

 

Tierney Kennedy (@kennedy_tierney) has been on fire with the problems she’s been sharing in the Twitter-sphere. She just needs to remember the hashtag #MTBOz, of course!

 

Lastly, here’s a problem. A BIG problem, which shows the power of mathematical models for presenting real-world problems and might leave students with more questions than answers, but maybe the questions worth asking.



Written by John Rowe, @MrJohnRowe

Black History Month

 

Black History Month initially started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Mr. Woodson wanted to raise the awareness of Black’s contributions to civilization. He felt it was important to raise the awareness of Black’s contributions that had been excluded from historical records and school curriculums. The month of February was selected because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week long celebration was expanded to a month. As mathematics educators it is imperative that this celebration is a part of our classroom instruction. Thus, for the month of February Dr. Kristopher J. Childs (@DrKChilds) has created Black Mathematician Month Slides that can be used on a daily basis to celebrate Black Mathematicians. Here is the link http://kristopherchilds.com/black-mathematician-month feel free to download, share with your students, and colleagues.



Also check out https://mathematicallygiftedandblack.com/, as shared by Annie Perkins (@anniek_p).



Special thanks to Dr. Childs for acting as a special guest contributor this week!

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