Morning Coffee – 31 August 2020

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your morning coffee this week:

  • David Butler’s post Twelve matchsticks: focus or funnel presents an interesting puzzle. But even better, it opened up a rabbit hole of thought-provoking posts about how to talk with children — or anyone.

“The approach where you have an idea in your head of how it should be done and you try to get the student to fill in the blanks is called funnelling. It’s actually a rather unpleasant experience as a student to be funnelled by a teacher. You don’t know what the teacher is getting at, and often you feel like there is a key piece of information they are withholding from you, and when it comes, the punchline feels rather flat.”

—David Butler
Twelve matchsticks: focus or funnel

  • David’s post sent me to Mark Chubb’s article Questioning the pattern of our questions. He reminded me how easy it is for us adults to dismiss a child’s reasoning when their minds travel a different path than ours.

“I find myself spending more and more time trying to get better at two things. Listening and asking the right kinds of questions that will push thinking. While I find that resources have helped me get better at asking the right questions, I have learned that listening is actually quite difficult.”

—Mark Chubb
Questioning the pattern of our questions

“Thinking about the questions we ask is important, but equally important is thinking about the patterns of questions that are asked. When engaging students in discussion, consider what happens in the exchanges after an initial question is posed; in other words, examine the interaction patterns that occur.”

—Beth Herbel-Eisenmann and Lynn Breyfogle
Questioning our patterns of questions

  • Ivars Peterson takes a dive into math art with Points of View, which looks likely to open up a whole new rabbit hole for tomorrow…

“The operative word that unifies art and mathematics is seeing. More precisely, art and mathematics are both about seeing relationships. One can see certain mathematical forms as art forms, and creativity is about seeing from a new viewpoint.”

—Nat Friedman
Hyperseeing, Hypersculptures and Space Curves

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

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