In my last post, I shared some generalities about puzzle creation. Today, I will zero in on the specifics of creating puzzles for the mathematics classroom. I will do this by way of analyzing some examples. Multiple PathsA characteristic of all classrooms is that they are constituted of students whose backgrounds and talents vary widely. … Continue reading Puzzles for the Classroom

# Tag: Algebra

## Calculation

Many students have weak arithmetic skills. Many teachers blame this on calculator use, but it is just as likely that the real reason lies elsewhere. For one thing, the teaching of arithmetic traditionally does not involve developing any understanding, so the learning is shallow and fragile. For another, students correctly feel that mindless arithmetic is… Continue reading Calculation

## Comparing two approaches

Much can be said in defense of practice exercises, but when all is said and done, very few students develop deep understanding from routine practice. For example, compare these two approaches to the area of a trapezoid. Approach 1The teacher says: ”The area of a trapezoid is given by the formula h(b1+b2)/2, where h is… Continue reading Comparing two approaches

## Algebra Manipulatives

A middle school teacher writes: Just a little note and question about Lab Gear. I have been having so much fun with my students using Lab Gear again this year. The 3D-ness of it totally blows the other (cheaper) algebra tiles that I used last year out of the water! I have heard this often… Continue reading Algebra Manipulatives

## Time and Tide

This is my yearly report on the Asilomar conference of the California Math Council, Northern Section. Because I was presenting three times, I didn't end up attending as many sessions as I would have liked. As always at Asilomar, I enjoyed hanging out with my ex-colleagues, running into friends, and meeting the occasional fan of… Continue reading Time and Tide

## Upcoming presentations

I have a bunch of presentations coming up. That will be your last chance to hear me for a while, as my NCTM San Antonio talk was rejected†. Who knows, maybe retirement will finally kick in!Online Webinar: Reaching the Full RangeAs everyone knows, students learn math at different rates. What should we do about it?… Continue reading Upcoming presentations

## More Notes from NCTM Phoenix

See Part 1 of my notes from Phoenix: A Brief History of Math Education (NCTM President Matt Larson's presentation.)Here is Part 2.Growth Mindset: telling is not teachingIn his short session, Dylan Kane pointed out that talking about growth mindset may be helpful to students "in the middle". But there are students in our classes who… Continue reading More Notes from NCTM Phoenix

## Reading Algebra

Symbol sense is an essential part of mathematical literacy. It is the understanding that undergirds effective symbol manipulation, and perhaps more basically the ability to interpret and create algebraic expressions. Symbol sense, like number sense and operation sense, is not learned so much through listening to a teacher. Rather, it grows as one gets practice… Continue reading Reading Algebra

## Partitions

In this post, I will outline my approach to this partition problem:How many ways can you write a positive integer n as a sum of three or fewer positive integers? Partitions are a standard topic in number theory, but I will limit myself to this specific question. I started trying to figure it out after… Continue reading Partitions

## Eclectic

In between June 27 and August 4, 2016, I presented seven to ten workshops (depending on how you count) ranging from a couple of hours to four days. I share most of the handouts, resources, and slides on my Summer Workshops site. (See below my signature for more details on what's there.)The site will remain… Continue reading Eclectic