Traveling on the Wayback machine to the world of math…
Ahhh…heaven. Pre-algebra for 6th graders. What could be better than that? They’ll focus on the task at hand and will probably love math. Wrong and wrong. Based on the amount of yelling at me, cursing at me, and overall lack of work, I was able to identify my ADHD kids right away. It took until the end of the period to identify my LD students. My question was…Why didn’t they have accommodations?
Formerly Special Ed, I could immediately identify which accommodations they would benefit from. One of the moms “schooled me.” Her eyes watered, saying, “There must be an educational impact on their academics. He does well on tests, it’s behavior.” I knew that I could fix that. 2 tests per unit (Formative/Summative Assessments). I had read about project based learning (PBL) and it was time to implement it.
NO! It’s the only math that I stink at, geometry. Euclidean Geometry isn’t really math. I let the kids know that. Non-Euclidean geometry wins, hands down. To prove that I’m just smarter, “How many straight lines can you draw from point A to point B?” My smartest student comments that the answer is obvious, “1.”
I grab a globe pointing out the north pole and south pole. “Okay,” pointing to my LD kid, “Stand up and show me a straight line from the north pole to the south pole. Another, and another, and another… Okay sweetie, How many straight lines can you draw from one point to another?” Smiling, “an infinite number.”
After doing endless constructions, we had our PBL challenge. “How can you use a Non-Euclidean geometry theory using compass-and-straight-edge? Compare/contrast with Euclidean geometry Teams of 4, you pick. They were awesome. We showed the work off to everyone. Best of all, they could show that they knew and understood the 2 geometries. Smarter than anyone.
Research shows that high achieving students experience more actively engaged learning. This is particularly true when integrating PBL activities.
Maybe students enjoying geometry makes it “real math.” Maybe…