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Topic: More neg games
Replies: 3   Last Post: Apr 15, 1996 5:38 PM

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Kreg A. Sherbine

Posts: 26
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: More neg games
Posted: Apr 14, 1996 4:24 PM
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On Sun, 14 Apr 1996, Jennifer Kaplan wrote:

> The problem I find is that students have a hard time making the connection
> between the 'game' and the mathematical process involved. Any comments?

I've played a "red-negative/black-positive" card game on several
occasions and have seen exactly what you have: the kids are very
proficient at playing the game but don't immediately make the transition
from the game context to the traditional symbolic context of negative and
positive numbers.

Two thoughts arise here: first, we as teachers need to figure out what's
happening well in the game that isn't happening at all outside the game.
This is what the Standards mean by relating in-school math experiences to
out-of-school math experiences, and the Standards *don't* claim that
in-school math experiences are necessarily "right" or "better" or "more
meaningful." On the contrary, we've got to adapt the in-school math to
the point at which it makes sense to the students in terms of the
out-of-school math, not the other way around. This is where traditional
instruction falls apart.

Second (or actually zeroeth: this may precede the other), we need to
clarify what we mean by "appropriate math practices." If we mean that we
want kids to be able to work 35 sums of integers with 85% accuracy, then
that's one thing; if we mean that we want kids to be able to explain,
justify, and notate why one hand in the game would beat another hand,
then that's something entirely different. The Standards would claim that
if the kids spend enough time explaining and notating their thinking
about the cards, then they'll be able (after some guidance) to work the
written sums. And traditional instruction has spent years proving that
the converse is not true: working all the sums in the world won't lead to
an ability to explain the reasoning behind the sums.

Kreg A. Sherbine | To doubt everything or to believe
Apollo Middle School | everything are two equally convenient
Nashville, Tennessee | solutions; both dispense with the | necessity of reflection. -H. Poincare

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