First Day Back

I started a great activity with my Geometry class today (you can find it here ) We began a three day unit exploring ideas behind proof and organization of thoughts and arguments. One of the things we worked on today were the sentence strips from the link above. I had four groups of students and each group got fourteen statements about the process of making spaghetti. Each table had to organize the sentences in the ‘right’ order. All four groups agreed that the last step was to eat the spaghetti. There was no other agreement to be found from what I could tell. There was some great conversation about order choice and efficiency, there was some conversation about how this reminded them of arguments about proof. My favorite part of the class was the frustration – mostly cheerful in nature – expressed by one student who wanted to be told ‘the right answer’ to this exercise. She was so flustered by my response that there is no right answer, but there were some easily agreed upon wrong answers such as straining the spaghetti before it is cooked. I am pretty sure that she was not genuinely frustrated, but it is so interesting to see the response to what feels like a change in the rules of the game. So many students come into math class thinking that their job is to find THE right answer – usually using THE right technique. I just love shaking up that notion of their job as math learners.


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