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## Fill the Gaps?

“Fill the gaps!” is the command of many well-intentioned educators. Math especially succumbs to this twisted pedagogy because math is more obviously hierarchical with lower building blocks being required to understand higher building blocks. What is wrong...

## Smileys

June 24, 2021 Incubator Daniel and Mason presented on Smileys. That’s a puzzle that has you sparsely filling a grid with smiley faces. Then you start the app running. At each time-step a grumpy face turns into a smiley face if it touches two or more smiley...

## 5×5 Pentomino Sudoku

July 8, 2021 Incubator Asmita Sodhi presented 5×5 Pentomino Sudoku puzzles. These are problems that her father, Amar worked on so they have a special place. You can read more about Amar and these puzzles on pages 10-12 of the 2018 CMS Notes:...

## Bellerophon versus Don Quixote

When presented with a tough challenge a majority of our students charge right in. They see a computation and charge! We’ll call this majority the Quixotic Problem Solvers. The worst offenders solve one thing and instead of trying to generalize or to take steps...

## Advantage of doing very old curriculum

Standard curricula have children jump through a progression of hoops. True – they stop every so often to “review” content, but this is usually time wasted for top students and it is only tolerated in order to get struggling students...

I want to raise a red flag about a practice that may have value, but is being pushed too much. Asking children to reflect and articulate how they think is not as important as thinking. Math class should be spent thinking – not thinking about thinking. If I see...

## Review of techniques to teach counting

Molly Crocker contacted me to ask for my opinion on her finger counting ideas 1 to 99. I decided to take the opportunity and review different techniques to teach counting. The questions you should ask in selecting a technique for your classroom:   Does the technique...

## Relying on Peer Pressure

I have honed some techniques for introducing new games and puzzles into the elementary classroom. From my previous blog postings (and the video below) you will know that I do NOT recommend teaching the rules at the start, but rather to engage students immediately by...

## Teamwork: educators, creators, parents

I have been using your puzzles for a long time on my classrooms… Honestly, they are the best mathematics learning I have found to date- all the students have an entry point, and everyone is successful and challenged… I’m wondering how you come up...

## Scarce Paper

I failed yesterday. Background: I encourage students to work in pairs or occasionally triples with a single puzzle-sheet shared between them. In my classes paper is a scarce resource. I love to see co-operative math as in the photo above. However, I have been relaxed...

## Mini-Mathematical Universes

To teach the Scientific Method the natural impulse is to turn to the natural world. This needs rethinking. Mini-Mathethatical Universes can be created which students can poke and prod with precision. These universes should be given to students without explanation. My...

## Let’s Abolish Elementary Mathematics

We should abolish the subject of mathematics in elementary school. Why? Because “mathematics” has become synonymous with arithmetic for many educators and parents. Problem solving, which should be at the heart of the classroom experience of mathematics is...