Today’s little challenge

Posted on March 2, 2016


These are the parts of our Math Literacy that I like — except I’m not sure they’re delivered in a way to make the right thinking happen and make the ideas stick.

Students graph points on x and y axes … except they’re like “real” graphs, so … “hours after midnight”  is x, f’rinstance… “Population of the colonies from 1640-1710” was a real challenge because x = 0 was 1640 and the graph went up by 500.   4467 — that was plopped smack in the middle between 4000 and 5000… as was the other “one close to a 500.”

And hours after midnight?   Even with a picture of the hours on a line (a “how much time has passed” graphic that I grabbed)… 12 + 5 was 15, wasn’t it? wasn’t it?

Now, these are not students with limited intelligence.   If they’d walked in the room and I’d said “what’s 12 + 5?”   they’d have nailed it.   It’s just adding.

It’s just, also, that for so many years math has Looked A Certain Way, and now… this crazy thing called thinking has to happen.

(Predictably, my more spatial folks didn’t really have to think about the 500-ness… it’s nice when they get a chance to “see it.”)

I just fear that this one shot is going to be a “Eureka” moment for… not enough students.   The rest it will be something they managed to get through — but didn’t get to practice, so it fell back out.

(and…. oh, it helps to have just been thinking about the “what do they do to get here,” because what looks like not caring can be — well, gee, I don’t care as much about this as the crisis happening right now…)

Posted in: abe, math, Uncategorized