Math That Makes You Think
One of my favorite parts of teaching math is when we have word problems. I’m not a sadistic teacher who enjoys watching my students suffer, I just like math that applies what we’re learning to real life. I remember one assignment we had that asked a question about the cost of food at a restaurant. Some students made a calculation error and found that the orange juice was $110. The crazy part was that they submitted that response for a grade. There are only two reasons I can think of for this kind of a response: Either they have gone to too many baseball games, or they didn’t think much before submitting their responses.
I started making and posting some math videos that I called Math That Makes You Think. I posed some math problems, or showed a proof, and asked the students to respond with their thoughts.
At first, they all asked me what the answer was, but when they realized that I wasn’t going to give them an answer, the wheels in their heads started turning.
I was very impressed by my students’ logical reasoning, as well as their sometimes comically illogical reasoning. I hope that my students master the math content and that it makes them think, but most of all, I hope they never forget to heed the words of Mark Twain who said, I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.
Take a look at those videos, and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section here.
Eric Buffington teaches high school algebra for K12. He loves to witness his students "light bulb" moments when they understand something they didn't understand before. He has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from King's College and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Wilkes University.