Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's Your Math Problem

My dad was a college math professor.  Geometry was his love!  Maybe because in geometry--you do solve problems from many different ways.  Math always came easily to me: the logic, the concepts, and the understanding.  So as a teacher, I wondered, would I be able to teach something that came so naturally to me?  The answer was of course, yes!  Partly because it came naturally to me--I could see many different ways to solve problems, and understand there were many different ways to come to the same answer, and more importantly there may not be the same answer to the same questions.

I love this book because it really focuses on the process of thinking and solving problems.  It is not just solving word problems and knowing which key words means to add, subtract, multiply and divide.  It is understanding concept, applying concepts, and sharing your ideas with others!

Here are some of the notes I jotted down while reading:

Learning math = making connections to ideas we already understand and extending the new ideas to novel situations.  (Doesn't this make you think of reading comprehension--when a student comprehends he/she is making connections and extending his/her knowledge and applying it to new situations!)

Non-routine:  does not immediately know how to reach a solution.

I love that--they don't know how to reach a solution--meaning they will have to think, work, communicate with others before they reach a solution!  I always felt it is better to teach a student how to think--and this book helps us do that!

This type of thinking and problem solving also lends itself to tiered learning.  Example:

How many ways can you make change for a dollar?

This could be easily tiered using different types of coins for each group!

This inspired me to another problem solving activity.

How will Romney win the election?  Which states does he need to reach the magic number of 270?

How will Obama win the election?  Which state does he need to reach the magic number of 270?  If he looses Texas and California to Romney, will he still be able to win?  How?

The electoral college lends itself to so many cool problem solving activities.

Electoral Map

Remember the magic number is 270.  If there is a tie--and it has happened before--it goes to The House of Representative and they vote for the president!  

There are so many ways this little map can be used--and so many ways to get to 270!  

Can't wait to read more!

Remember to go to Math Coach's Corner  and read her take on this!

1 comment:

  1. Love your summary and the idea of using the election! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. :)

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