Hitting the Bullseye

During a recent scan through my Twitter feed, I came across a tweet from Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) about a problem she had shared:

The original problem came from LC Dawson (@CDawson) that I had missed when it was originally shared on April 10:

I loved the simplicity of the problem and thought it was very accessible mathematically but still promoted thinking, problem-solving and mathematical reasoning.  This problem can easily be adapted to allow for more challenging or easier versions and students can make their own to share with a friend.  The other thing I liked about this is that though students might have the mathematical tools to solve the problem, they probably had never seen anything like this before.  Solving non-routine problems in mathematics class is important because students can very easily fall into the trap of being good "problem performers" and not good "problem solvers".  More about that here from the NCTM article Fosteri…

Tripping Over Words

As a parent of two children making their way through math education, I have the privilege to talk with them about learning on a regular basis.  Sometimes it's at the dinner table when I throw them a neat question to think about and sometimes it's in the car driving to hockey/baseball/guides/whatever.  Talking about education with my kids is one of my favourite things to do and they really seem to enjoy it too.

The other evening, my daughter Megan took out a worksheet that she had been working on in her grade 6 class.  The students' task was to identify lines in 2-D shapes that were either parallel or perpendicular and they were to sort these shapes based on their geometric properties.  I'd imagine this type of activity is fairly common in Ontario as these sorts of comparing and sorting activities are written as part of our grades 1-8 mathematics curriculum.  While talking to Megan about her school work, I noticed her notation on figure G indicating that the lines were …

Good Questions Lead To Good Questions

This past week, I had the opportunity to learn with the principals and math leads from our district's K-8 elementary schools.  Part of the learning we did that day was building content knowledge for teaching mathematics.  In our district, we have been doing a lot of learning around making connections between concrete, diagrammatic and symbolic mathematics (my colleague Mike Jacobs blogs about it in detail here, here, here, and here and in other places on his blog).  The concrete-diagrammatic-symbolic continuum has had a big impact with our students and helps them develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.  When Mike and I were asked to share a couple of mathematics activities with the group, we thought it would be a great idea for them to do some thinking with pattern blocks as they're a readily available resource in our schools.

We began by tweeting an appetizer on Monday from our board math Twitter account, @DCDSBMath:

As far as tweets from the @DCDSBMath acco…