Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Discovery-based math not making the grade

If you don't know how to figure out the area of a triangle,
parallelogram and rectangle, how do you figure out the area
of this shape?
I've been complaining about this since I began my teaching career (1989) working with learning disabled students. Kids cannot struggle trying to figure out what 7 x 7 equals, while in the middle of discovering abstract problem-solving.

This is simple pedagogy. They only have so much working memory, patience and perseverance. When 7 x 7 frustrates them, they give up. I have said this for many, many years. Finally, CD Howe has come to the conclusion that this is so. I could see this in the behaviour of my students, in their grasp of new concepts. If you cannot fathom times tables, you cannot work on complex problems.

They need the so-called skill and drill (AKA kill and drill)  practice, so eschewed by many. Practice DOES make perfect, or at least put it into their long-term memories. It inspires quick-thinking. They need teachers and peers to tutor them, if they are stumped.

There are pre-requisite skills to solving algebra.
There are pre-requisites to determining the mass or area of complex shapes. None of these will be solved if the child has not prepared their brain for using abstract reasoning skills. Snarky adults complain that they never use this math, but we know that we use the same neural pathways for figuring out problems as the pathways we have used before. If we haven't the foundations mastered and the thinking done prior to new problems, we are bogged down in the process.

Above, they need to know how to multiply decimals, fractions, as well as the rules for order of operations.


Discovery-based methods just not making the grade

www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20150527/.../TextView
5 hours ago - Discovery-based methods just not making the grade. CONTEXT. MOIRA MACDONALD. Canadian students' math skills have been on a ..

Math made not-so-simple - Vancouver Sun

www.vancouversun.com/technology/Math+made+simple/.../story.html

Jan 21, 2014 - Opinion: Discovery based mathematics is ineffective and not doing our ... The problem is that it's failing the grade and our kids are suffering 

Discovery-based methods just not making the grade

www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20150527/.../TextView
5 hours ago - Discovery-based methods just not making the grade. CONTEXT. MOIRA MACDONALD. Canadian students' math skills have been on a 


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