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Topic: Re: To K-12 teachers here: Another enjoyable post from Dan Meyer
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 5, 2013 6:04 AM

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Richard Strausz

Posts: 4,621
Registered: 12/4/04
Re: To K-12 teachers here: Another enjoyable post from Dan Meyer
Posted: Jun 4, 2013 11:38 AM
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> On Jun 4, 2013, at 8:34 AM, Richard Strausz
> <> wrote:

> > My question is one of teaching judgment. I don't
> know if there is a 'right' answer, but I think I'd
> want to show her an example first that her answer was
> wrong before launching into the algebra. If we had
> time, it might lead to an interesting discussion on
> what conditions would cause her answer to be right.
> Of course it is natural to start with a counter
> example to show that her conclusion is wrong, she
> probably wouldn't listen to anything else till you
> do, but that doesn't show why it is wrong.

I agree totally.

> I know what you are thinking, like everyone else on that
> site, "It's wrong because it doesn't work!" or "It's
> wrong because she divided by r instead or r^2!".

I think you and I disagree about the intent of the blog post and most of the folks who commented. Dan Meyer himself referred to the counterexample as a good first step before the algebra is taught.

> What you (and they) don't understand is that in the
> context of teaching a student algebra, "wrong"
> doesn't mean why the conclusion is wrong, it means
> how did she wrongly get there? I don't care if her
> conclusion is right or wrong. I care how she got to
> it. She might be wrong even if her conclusion is
> right. That is what needs to be addressed because
> that is what algebra is. How to reason.
> Imagine this. You may just be the product of several
> generations of teachers trying to teach algebra to so
> many unprepared students that at this point you have
> simply forgot how to teach algebra as well as the
> point. I don't mean that disrespectfully.

I have forgotten a lot of things over the years, but not how to teach algebra - even though I'm not teaching it this year.


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