Learning

One of the underlying beliefs that guides Math for All is that in order to learn mathematics well, students must engage with rich problems. Rich problems allow ALL students, with a variety of neurodevelopmental strengths and challenges, to engage in mathematical reasoning and become flexible and creative thinkers about mathematical ideas. In this Math for All Updates, we review what rich problems are, why they are important, and where to find some ready to use. In a later Math for All Updates we will discuss how to create your own rich problems customized for your curriculum.
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One of the underlying beliefs that guides Math for All is that in order to learn mathematics well, students must engage with rich problems. Rich problems allow ALL students, with a variety of neurodevelopmental strengths and challenges, to engage in mathematical reasoning and become flexible and creative thinkers about mathematical ideas. In this Math for All Updates, we review what rich problems are, why they are important, and where to find some ready to use. In a later Math for All Updates we will discuss how to create your own rich problems customized for your curriculum.
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Math anxiety is more than just being nervous about math. It is characterized by feelings of panic, tension, and helplessness aroused by doing math or even just thinking about it (Ashcraft & Kirk, 2001). Researchers think that about 20 percent of the population suffers from it. But having mathematical anxiety does not mean that a student is not good at math. Even accomplished mathematicians, such as Laurent Schwartz and Maryam Mirzakhani, reported having suffered from it. Math anxiety is not the result of doing poorly in mathematics; rather, a student may do poorly in mathematics because they feel anxious about it.
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Planning for remote learning may require more flexibility than does planning lessons for our classrooms. Students are engaging in mathematics outside of school, where support may vary. In addition, access to materials, including technology, will vary from student to student. Interdisciplinary lessons are one way to address a variety of situations and needs during remote learning, and also present an opportunity that is enhanced by remote learning.

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When an early elementary student can recite all of the single-digit multiplication facts, a typical response is, “Wow, that kid is really good at math!” I was that student. I could finish the two-minute multiplication fact exercises with time to spare, and I could recite formulas within hours of seeing them the first time. I could also (almost) flawlessly reproduce any algorithm our teacher showed us in class that day. It was in college that I learned that memorizing all these facts, formulas, definitions, algorithms, and more is not all that is involved in mathematics. It was a hard lesson. I realized that even though I was good at memorization, I had to do more than that to do the mathematics I was now facing. Even then, memorization and recall of information played a huge role.

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