It all starts with my old entrenched beliefs I had about math ( a tear rolling down her cheek).
I was never taught to think of math in an open-ended manner. For me, it was really just something in separate boxes. Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1…
Well in high school I took AP Calculus. However, I was a low student in a high class. I tried really hard, but I never had a complete grasp of derivatives and integrals. At the end of the year, you pay to take the test, but my teacher (I still remember this vividly) said,
You can save your money, just don’t take the test
Unfortunately, a lot of adults have similar traumatic stories where they have solidified the idea that they are not a “math person.”
I was awakened to a new reality when I went to a workshop on Inquiry and Mathematics. It changed my life…I cried, actually, there was a group of us on the floor just balling, as we all had these crazy stories of why we had such fixed ideas about math.
This opened me up to a whole new view of math and how it can be taught.
The key takeaway was to keep the task OPEN ended. This allows for multiple entry points and students can create their own understandings within the task they are given. Essentially, individualize instructions and learning.
This opens up so many possibilities.
For example, I am collaborating with a 5th-grade teacher and we give both of our classes the same task. We meet every week and discuss their responses, which are fascinating! Similarities, differences, but all because students were given multiple entry points to the task.
I am passionate about spreading this OPEN-ENDED way of teaching math to both students and teacher, as it will bring a whole new understanding of math and of learning.
Please reach out if you have any questions about Open-ended (inquiry-based) math!
101qs.com Digital provocations where you can find pre-made questions to introduce in your lessons. Great for “I see, I think, I wonder.”
Nrich.maths.org Digital provocations and open-ended tasks.