On Twitter, Nick Corley writes: Students were SUPPOSED to use the distance formula, but look at the response in the pic. How do you grade????? This is a great discussion starter! Here are my thoughts. Assessment Should the student be penalized for finding the correct answer, using a correct method? That would be particularly egregious… Continue reading An Assessment Conundrum

# Tag: Algebra

## Rate of Change

I often promote the idea that if a concept is important, we should teach it more than once, and preferably in more than one way. Rate of change is one such concept. It can be approached in various ways from middle school to calculus. Is there anything to add to the oft-repeated “rise over run”… Continue reading Rate of Change

## For Algebra

The Atlantic published an excerpt from Temple Grandin’s latest book (Visual Thinking). They titled it “Against Algebra”, which puts it in a tradition of anti-algebra pieces in various magazines and radio programs (!). Alas, anti-algebra ideas are also present among some math educators. I have written about this repeatedly: Technology in Math Education (2022) My… Continue reading For Algebra

## No Best Way

In 2020, I wrote No One Way, a blog post which I used to explain my website’s motto (“There is no one way.”) I argued that it is the math itself that demands that we approach important topics in multiple ways. As it turns out, this is a favorite topic of mine: in 2016, I… Continue reading No Best Way

## Lab Gear, the Great Connector

I had the good fortune of mentoring Liz Caffrey for five years, at the very beginning of her teaching career, when she worked at the high school where I chaired the math department. She is now a veteran and talented middle school teacher in the Boston area, but we’ve stayed in touch. In this guest… Continue reading Lab Gear, the Great Connector

## Virtual Manipulatives: Part 1

Learning Tools In 1981, after ten years in K-5, I switched to teaching high school math. In some ways, this felt like starting a whole new career: the math was more involved, the relationship with students less like parenting, and tradition weighed a lot more heavily on the profession. Still, in other ways, teaching is… Continue reading Virtual Manipulatives: Part 1

## Sum and Difference of Cubes

Teaching the factoring of the sum of cubes and difference of cubes was not a priority for me in my teaching, and the topic does not seem to be part of the Common Core Standards. However, some people do have to include it in their classes, and as a result the subject occasionally comes up… Continue reading Sum and Difference of Cubes

## Asilomar Report: Conic Sections

As my retirement starts to kick in, I no longer attend conferences — except for one: the annual meeting of the California Math Council (Northern Section.) Once again, I had a great day at Asilomar, a beautiful spot near Monterey, right on the Pacific Ocean. Here is my annual report. Conic Sections Figuring out an approach to… Continue reading Asilomar Report: Conic Sections

## Teaching the Distributive Property

A guest post by Rachel Chou I have been a classroom mathematics teacher for 20 years. I have heard students use the phrase “the distributive property” more times than I can count. Many of them misunderstand what “the distributive property” even is. But maybe I think that because I don’t really know what “the distributive property”… Continue reading Teaching the Distributive Property

## Freakonomics Radio on Math Curriculum

Every now and then, an academic decides they’re qualified to fundamentally rethink math education, and to share their brilliant solution with the world. That is already problematic when the academic is a mathematician or a math education researcher, but it is even worse when it is someone whose only connection to K-12 math education is that… Continue reading Freakonomics Radio on Math Curriculum