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Welcome to the 2019 MidSchoolMath National Conference!

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Please note, the agenda presented below is subject to minor changes, additions and other edits between now and the conference.  

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Friday, March 1 • 9:40am - 10:25am
Constructivist Teacher Gone Rote?!

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Limited Capacity seats available

This workshop is about honoring students' sense-making ability. We take it from them when we introduce rules too early. Students are often not given the high level challenge of fully internalizing why the rules work and creating proofs for themselves. Instead, 'challenge' is often interpreted as accelerating through content with more memorization and "tricks" to master.

As the entry grade (5th) math teacher to students coming from a variety of elementary schools, students arrive in my room already knowing techniques and formulas, many of which are simply rote. Embracing this, I have the kids do the harder work of proving how and why they work. They create a flyer/booklet of rules and their proofs. Why does the butterfly comparison work? Why do we "copy, dot, flip"? What does fraction multiplication and division “look” like? I come from constructivist roots (Pat Campbell, Tom Rowan) and cannot deny students using the shortcuts and formulas to which they have been exposed.

To set the expectations for the depth of thinking required in their proof-driven “Why the Rules Work” books, I pose a group hands-on prompt/story that challenges kids to apply critical ideas of equivalency and addition/subtraction. This exploration provides insight into students' prior knowledge and offers formative feedback through observation, interview, self-reflection and presentation of a “Mystery Strip” poster. The final product reflects a collective group summary and offers proof/justification of each team’s results.

This session is being offered twice; please only sign up for one of the two sessions.   

avatar for Patricia Noble

Patricia Noble

Math Teacher, The Overlake School
I began my teaching career in rural Vermont and relocated to the Washington DC

Friday March 1, 2019 9:40am - 10:25am
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