We also want students to know that there are lots of interesting ways to be right in math class, and that wrong answers are useful for learning. That’s why we ask students to estimate, argue, notice, and wonder. It’s why we have built so many tools for facilitating conversations in math class. It’s also why we don’t generally give students immediate feedback that their answers are “right” or “wrong.” That kind of feedback often ends productive conversations before they begin.
Amare is looking at these 16 parabolas. Her partner Geoff has chosen one and she has to figure out which one by asking yes-or-no questions. There are lots of details here. She’s trying to foc…
It’s a bad mirror, so I call it a mistake. “Mistakes grow your brain,” I say. “We expect them, respect them, inspect them, and correct them here,” I say. And if we have to label student ideas “mistakes,” maybe those are good messages to attach to that label.
But the vast majority of the work we label “mistakes” is students doing exactly what they meant to do.
We just don’t understand what they meant to do.
Make yourself more interested in the sense that your students are making rather than the sense they aren’t making. Celebrate and build on that sense.
Hi. I’m Dan Meyer. I taught high school math to students who didn’t like high school math. I have advocated for better math instruction here and on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray, and TED.com. I earned my doctorate from Stanford University in math education and I’m currently the Chief Academic Officer at Desmos where I explore the future of math, technology, and learning. I have worked with teachers internationally and in all fifty United States. I was named one of Tech & Learning’s 30 Leaders of the Future. I live in Oakland, CA.