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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.

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Eric Buffington

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.

Math That Makes You Think

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