Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Teaching Algebra

It's not that I'm against teaching math in new and creative ways, but I'm forced to ask--isn't there a more efficient way of teaching math than this?


Donalbain said...

I *like* it. I really do. But then I am looking at it from a science teacher perspective. The fact that kids get more experience with gathering data is a GOOD thing, and in terms of a non science classroom, the monkey thing seems like a good experiment to do. And there is the hope that the kids will link the lesson learnt to the physical format of the lesson so that when they are thinking how to do graphs, they might think back and say to themselves "Ahhh yes, that was the lesson with the monkey." And physical movement is particularly useful for this. I recently watched as my year 10 bottom set sat an exam that covered heat transfers. One of the questions was on the Greenhouse Effect and I couldnt help but laugh as they all copied the rather ridiculous hand actions I had used on the board to demonstrate the principle. And you could tell when each kid reached the question on convection because they "ran" in their seats and expanded themselves!
And as the article suggests, the vocabulary is very important, and needs to be highlighted.

anita cspotts said...

Totally agree being a colorado math middle/ high alg teacher i get the same thing.:
the quadratic formula sung under their breath to " i'm a little tea pot". I actually assess them on their kinesthetic understanding of transformations.,i have them jumping around the room showing y= (x-2)^2 +4( yes they even get to stand on the chair )
i;ve been told repeated that the kinesthetic lesson are more memorable in content and i like to test them kinesthetically .

Dr. AnnMaria said...

There may be a more efficient way of teaching math, but this lesson is teaching mathematics, literacy and vocabulary. I am constantly amazed by what students entering college don't know. They don't know because all along it has been "good enough" if they had sort of the right idea that if as the, you know, one thing goes up, the other thing on the otherside goes down well that is negative.

Unfortunately for them, understanding mathematics requires precision and exact knowledge. I would much rather have students spend more time and truly understand a concept than to have vague ideas about several concepts.

Darren said...

While I agree with your sentiment, let's not set up a false dichotomy. Good "math" instruction includes vocabulary and exposition, and it doesn't require a "word wall" to accomplish.