Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We need to revamp Math Class

Now after all the talk about High Order Thinking Skills, and the program is being used in all the English classes in Israel.  We have been teaching this way for about 2 years, some even three.

How do you feel about this program?  Do you feel that the students are really benefiting?
Can these skills be taught even earlier in the school career?  What about the students learning this when they are in Elementary School, in their native language?  Why do these basic skill have to wait until 15 years old?

There has also been talk in the Math world, at least in the United States and in the UK about problem solving skills.   Dan Meyer gives us some insights about how Math is taught now, and what it could be.

We need to make Math more relevant to each student.  I remember a classic math word problem.

I'm going to bore you a bit:

 1. There are two trains, one is going 50 miles an hour west, the other is going 80 miles an hour east.  At what speed are they going to crash?

Why is this a good math problem at all?  Who said that the trains are on the same track?  Maybe they aren't even in the same state?  One is in Arizona and the other is in New York.

I never saw the relevance of this problem.

Now, my mother is an artist.  She never got math either.  So maybe she would have been more interested in math if it was more real to her.

2. You want to mix paint to get the color turquoise.  You have blue paint and yellow paint.  What proportion of blue and yellow paint do you need?  Do you need any more colors in order to make turquoise?

Now which problem is more real to an artist?  The one with the trains, or the paint?  Dan Meyer has more to say about this subject, a video worth watching:

I welcome your comments!

Rachael Orbach

1 comment:

jack gluck said...

English teachers are being asked to solve the the problem of the whole system. I think this is a surmountable task.

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