George Polya, a master in mathematics education in the early twentieth century, is credited with saying that if a problem takes fewer than 24 hours to solve, it isn't worth solving. When I first heard this, I was discouraged. How can I help my students to understand math if everything worth knowing takes so much… Continue reading Productive Struggle in Math
Colored Paper in Math Class
We began our lesson on fractions, and I prepared to say the words I read in the manual the day before. "The numerator is the number above the fraction line. The denominator is the number underneath the fraction line. They represent parts being taken or the total number of parts in the whole, respectively." As I considered these words, I realized how abstract these ideas are. My lesson could be much more effective with a practical activity in my students’ hands.
Playing with Words in Math Class
How Bar Modeling Makes Word Problems Easy in Singapore Math
To help teachers and parents understand Singapore math, I've been writing about how although it can seem difficult at first, it's actually a common-sense approach to mathematics that really gets results. Before you read this post, take a look at an introduction to Singapore math here. One of the most recognizable parts of Singapore math… Continue reading How Bar Modeling Makes Word Problems Easy in Singapore Math
Quick Tips for Classical Education at Home: Math
This week and next we're featuring a few simple things students can do to continue their classical education in each subject: literature, history, math, science, art, music, and PE. So, you're at home for the foreseeable future with your young math student. The textbooks are complicated, and on top of that you have responsibilities of… Continue reading Quick Tips for Classical Education at Home: Math
Why Singapore math?
Paul Lockhart on Teaching Math
The first time I started thinking seriously about how to teach mathematics was when I read "A Mathematician's Lament," by Paul Lockhart. He's an impressive mathematician with real credentials, but what I like best about him is his straightforward, common sense way of talking about things. He's direct and clear, and funny. In school I… Continue reading Paul Lockhart on Teaching Math
How Classical Education Shapes Mathematical Thinking, by Jon Gregg
“The study of mathematics develops and sets into operation a mental organism more valuable than a thousand eyes because through it alone can truth be apprehended.” Plato, The Republic A Misconception Often, even from an early age, certain students develop an affinity for mathematical and scientific thinking, an affinity which parents, teachers, and administrators tend… Continue reading How Classical Education Shapes Mathematical Thinking, by Jon Gregg
The Singapore Method for Elementary Mathematics
Dear parents, Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m just not a math person?” When I was younger I used to say it all the time, and I hear it all the time from our students (though less and less these days). A lot of people have the idea that you’re either good at reading… Continue reading The Singapore Method for Elementary Mathematics