Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A calculator that makes you estimate the answer before you can see it

Behold the Power of an Educated Guess

...[Ilan Samson, an inventor from Israel] set out to make people rethink how they learn math long before 43 states adopted new Common Core state standards. But now that Common Core is in full-swing in San Diego, he’s hoping more schools will see the benefit of having a tool like QAMA in their classrooms.

The calculator is already in students’ hands at High Tech High and the Preuss School at UCSD, among other schools...

The goal is to help students connect math concepts, and build on them, instead of learning lessons in fragments. Ideally, students will be able to explain how they arrived at an answer, which is why parents might notice – and sometimes reject – an increased focus on word problems.

But if we want American students to become more competitive internationally, it may be time to rethink how we teach. Elizabeth Green, editor of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news site covering education, took a detailed look at why Americans stink at math.

Green determined that Americans can learn a lot from how math is taught in other countries. One or her points fit with Samson’s take: American students spend too much time memorizing arbitrary rituals. This approach is divorced from true learning, and undervalues the process of finding the answer...

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