Critical thinking in MathDate: 19-Oct-2009
New mathematics guidelines focus on critical thinking and reasoning.
The Washington Post reports on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics attempts to reintroduce critical thinking ‘which has become a victim of standardized testing’ in an attempt to get students to better understand how math works.
Many math teachers say that stimulating higher order thinking has long been considered good practice. But the council says a fresh emphasis on the goal is necessary after a half-decade of high-stakes testing has taken spontaneity from many math discussions. Multiple choice tests leave little room for expansive thought.
At last. The innovative teachers’ organizer is crammed full of tips to engage students in math class. Let’s look at couple and how they can be specifically applied to the teaching of Math.
Strategy 39 on page 178 in the organizer is Metaphor, perfect for equations.
“To assist students in their understanding of equations, a Teeter Totter is used as a metaphor”.
An equation is a Teeter Totter Each side must balance and Changes to one side affect the other.
When writing equations on the board place them on the Teeter Totter.
RAS Alert, Strategy 23 p 114 can help students focus on a topic. For example. When looking at angles emphasize the importance of angles in everyday life, for example in building construction.
An assignment task could be for students to find the following angles in their homes. What a great way for students to understand the role of angles in their everyday lives.
Acute angles – less than 90 degrees
Right Angles – 90 degrees
Obtuse Angles – between 90 and 180 degrees
Straight Angles – 180 degrees
Reflex Angle – between 180 and 360 degrees
Revolution – 360 degrees
Use the Collaborative Strategy Hot Potato Strategy 25 p 122 to really get your class “humming”.
Place students in groups of 3-4 and give a range of math problems on a large piece of paper. Each piece of paper has a different set of problems.
Each group is given 5 minutes to solve their set of problems and then pass their sheet on to the next group. The next group is given 7 minutes to continue solving the problems. The papers are then rotated and each group continues to work on a new set of problems. Eventually each original group’s sheet is returned. They have a further 5 minutes to check the results.
This way each group is exposed to a variety of different problems and have to play a part in solving the problems.
Once you have mastered this strategy be really brave and use this process as a class test. Create the floor of Wall Street in your classroom. People talking, arguing, proposing, interacting all trying to solve the problems presented under time pressure. A great way to get students loving Math.
The innovative teachers’ organizer is a great tool for promoting higher order thinking in the classroom. GET YOURS NOW