And Then They Were Challenged

Cross posted on Inquire Within 

Today something amazing happened; I didn’t have to teach.  Or at least I didn’t have to follow the lesson plan to stay on track because all of this week we have been doing our state tests.  But today we were done and we had 90 minutes of time just for math so where some may have done review or front-loading, and yet others may have played math games, my team and I decided to challenge our kids instead.  So rather than their normal math problems where every single step it hammered out for them they were given problems to solve.  Problems that didn’t tell them what to do.  Problems that weren’t broken down into easily digestible bits.  Problems where they had to try and fail and try again.  Problems like we solve outside of school.

At first the kids moaned, hesitated, and then they got involved.  Then they got excited, and then they worked on it for 90 minutes straight until they had solved every single one of them.  This was not by force from me, they were told to do as many as they wanted, but they wanted to solve them.  They wanted to share their solutions, they wanted to mess with them, to play around, to try something.  They beamed.  They couldn’t wait to show me, they couldn’t want to explain how they had tried something and then something else.  They asked if they could take them home.  Math!  Home!  Wow…

So I ask myself, why can’t math be like this every day?  I like our math program but that is exactly what it is, a program, something prescribed and broken down.  Where is the time for our real exploration?  For our trying and failing?  I have to find the time.  

1 thought on “And Then They Were Challenged”

  1. Math should be like this every day. Math should not be about timed tests and memorized methods. It should be about thinking. Congratulations for challenging your kids and letting them discover they were up to the challenge!

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