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My Job is to Make You Think

When a group of students came to my classroom today, they found two problems on the board …

The first one involved a pattern of letters and students needed to figure out the next letter and why it was the next letter.

The second one involved 3 addition problems but the addends where the names of people and the sum was written in number format. Students needed to figure out the age of each person to make the equations work.

My students looked at these problems and then looked at me for help although most of them wanted to just give up before they even got started.

Struggling a little can lead to learning opportunities, so I let students wrestle with these problems for a little while.

I gave a clue to the first one and then students were quickly able to figure it out.

It just takes thinking in a different way!

For the second problem, we brainstormed various problem solving methods.

Then we talked more about the Guess and Check strategy.

Getting familiar with that one might come in handy this year …

I am more concerned journey to the answer than I was with the answer.

In fact I had a student name the correct letter for the first problem but he was able to tell me WHY he thought that was the answer …

And the WHY is what I am after!

I work with students who are in the Gifted Education program and ones that are almost there. Most of them are used to automatically knowing the answers to questions and knowing what to do to solve equations without having to think very much …

That’s got to change …

These students need to be challenged and need to have to think …

And that is MY job!!!!!!

Using Problem-Based Learning and Open Ended Math Challenges keep things interesting for both me and my students.

And I can’t wait to see where the THINKING will take us!!


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