I never was any good at math in school, but I loved puzzles–especially logic puzzles. I loved playing with numbers and words and pictures and using critical thinking skills (of course not realizing that’s what I was doing–I was a teenager after all) to discover the solutions.
I love that I’m now teaching an IMP class–Integrated Mathematics Program, in case you’re not familiar. Similar to CPM, but a little “wordier” and “puzzlier”, so to speak. My students are doing so much math, but not even realizing it! (Well, most of the time anyway.) There is so much writing involved with this curriculum, and I get super excited reading what my students write. (I used to be jealous of the English teachers at my school because of all the cool things they got to read. Obviously, not jealous of the all the grading they have to do…but I’ll cover my philosophy on grading in another post.)
We are currently working on a probability unit which is centered around a unit problem–specifically, to find the best strategy for playing a specific game over the long run. You can read more about it (and the rest of the Year 1 curriculum) here. The students are convinced that they just get to play a bunch of dice games and flip a coin lots of times. Fine by me! We are currently a third of the way through the unit and already I can hear, see, and read that the theories they started the unit with are evolving. That’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I’m having a great time teaching this unit…and I hope the students are too!