OK, so this week i will admit that i struggled a little bit trying to find something to do my weekly work on. This week we worked with measuring, mean, median, and mode. I tried to look on the website to find really interesting and cool ideas and everything that i stumbled upon was just kind of dull. Until i found LEGO MATH! I thought that this was So cool. I don't think that i would give my students a worksheet like below, i would want to give them actual Lego's to do the math. I thought that this Lego math was really cool for a couple of different reasons.
1) Doing this with the students would be way more engaging than just handing a student a worksheet and having them learn regular numbers.
2) Until right now, i have never thought of the bumps on Lego's as numbers. I just used them to build. Now that i am learning about this Lego math, i keep counting them and automatically doing the math. This activity could be a lesson that the students can do at home without even really knowing that they're doing math. Learning without even realizing you're learning is the best kind!
3) You could introduce addition and subtraction with Legos and as the math builds to multiplication and division builds, so does the activity. For example if you are working on the problem 2x3 you could have the student stack up 3 of the Legos with 2 bumps. After they have the Legos you have them count the total number of bumps.
4) I think that this activity caters to all different types of learners. This would help visual learners who just need to be able to see what is happening. It all helps the hands on learners who need to feel what is happening with the math.
I really like this, i am way past addition and subtraction and i love this activity. I think that if i would have had this in elementary school, it would have been a lot easier to learn these concepts.
On Friday when I heard Professor Golden say that Perseverance in math is a common core standard i was actually shocked. I don't know how many student can relate to me on this but i can personally say that there was absolutely no opportunity or chance to "persevere" in any of my math classes.
So i looked into the standard and it basically says that students should be able to look at a problem and construct a plan as to how they are going to solve this problem instead of jumping right in. I also says that once students get "stuck" instead of just giving up and looking for the answer right away, they should be confident that if they think about it a little bit longer in different ways, they will eventually reach a conclusion. I find this shocking. To be more clear, i think that this standard is awesome and has great intentions, but i do not think that it is being met in regular high schools on a daily basis. At least if regular high schools are anything like what i went to. My middle and high school math experience were exactly the opposite of this standard. If a new concept was introduced, we would work on a problem or two as a class, get the routine down and memorized, and then do some on our own. I cannot honestly say that i remember having to struggle my way through a problem even 1 time. It was always "here is a problem, here is how you do it, try one, quiz on Friday." I know that that sound horrible but that is honestly what i thought was normal. Having to think deeply in M221 and struggle our way through problems is totally new grounds for me. I don't think that my teachers were lazy, i think it was a matter that they knew that they had to rush through material in order to get through what the state required them to get through. In no way am i blaming this on my teachers. I think that this problem comes from the standards that they have to teach. There is so much pressure of what they have to teach and how fast that they have to get through it that i don't think that there is any time to honestly let a class think and struggle their way through one problem for the whole class. That is viewed as a class wasted. What they fail to see is that the student will have actually LEARNED the material, they won't just be memorizing for the quiz or test that is coming up.
Perseverance in the class room seems like a really nice standard but i don't believe that it is taught and practiced enough. I hope to find a way to a happy medium in my class. I hope to find a way to give my students the opportunities to persevere and struggle through a problem but still meet the demands of the state standards.