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Chapter 3 – Option 3 (Action)

01/31/2020 11:02 PM | Karen Campe

On her website, Tracy shares a link to James Tanton’s videos about thinking like a mathematician, and this is a chance for you to engage with some math yourself.

Watch part 1 at this link and try out some of the demonstrated strategies for math problems. Tell us about the experience. 

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPt1inAIs3k

Full set of videos: http://www.jamestanton.com/?p=1097


  • 02/02/2020 12:55 PM | Nicole Gilson
    I was intrigued with Dr. Tanton's 5 principles: 1) visualize 2) common sense 3) intellectual play 4) understanding over memorizing and my personal favorite 5) it's ok not to know! As a math specialist and former grade 5 teacher, I can say with a big sigh of relief that we do a lot of "modeling" or visualizing when introducing multiplication/division of whole numbers, decimals and fractions. I was intrigued in how Dr. Tanton showed how to solve algebra problems visually instead of using FOIL. Very cool! Again, I wish I had learned math this way because I am a visual learner. I also loved how he emphasized that mathematicians "pause before leaping into action" - he notes that students often jump in or rush to answer the question without really thinking about it. Finally, I thought he made some good points in solving percent problems. My mother taught me how to figure out how to calculate percents when shopping - she did it the same way Dr. Tanton did - start we 10% off etc. He brings up a good point - why do all the lengthy calculations or as he put it "grungy" work. He reminds me of Greg Tang a little in his delivery and makes some good points. Many of these math activities would work nicely in a number string/talk.
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  • 02/09/2020 1:20 PM | Peg Murray
    It was very interesting to watch James Tanton’s videos and see what he believes math is really about, and what it can teach our students;:
    Innovation of thought,
    Seeing the big picture
    Intellectual agility
    Asking “Why?” and “What if?” instead of just “What?”
    Engaging in intellectual play, and being willing to fail
    If we can develop these skills with our students, we will also be developing the life skills he refers to. Problem solving with math can build mindful thinking about finding solutions. I particularly appreciated his comments about visualizing, and using pictures, I would never have seen the 4 * 4 array as the sum of 1+2+3+4+3+2+1, but once he demonstrated it, I saw it as a different way to find the answer. I work with third grade students, so I try to focus my instruction on helping my students develop their understanding of different math concepts.
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