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How Students Learn Mathematics in the Classroom June 18, 2009

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Principle #1: Teachers Must Engage Students Preconceptions Preconception #1 – Mathematics is about learning to compute. What approximately is the sum of 8/9 and 12/13? Conceptually Procedurally Sense making

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Principle #1: Teachers Must Engage Students Preconceptions Preconception #2 – Mathematics is about following rules to guarantee correct answers. Systematic pattern finding and continuing invention Tower of Hanoi Units used to quantify fuel efficiency of a vehicle Miles per gallon Miles per gallon per passenger Compare different procedures for their advantages and disadvantages

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Principle #1: Teachers Must Engage Students Preconceptions Preconception #3 – Some people have the ability to do math and some dont. Amount of effort Some progress further than others Some have an easier time Effort is key variable for success

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Informal vs. formal mathematical strategies Brazilian street children could perform mathematics when making sales in the street, but were unable to answer similar problems when presented in a school context. Carraher, 1986; Carraher et al., 1985

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Informal vs. formal mathematical strategies Men who successfully handicapped horse races could not apply the same skill to securities in the stock market. Ceci and Liker, 1986; Ceci, 1996

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Key Point to Remember Without a conceptual understanding of the nature of the problems and strategies for solving them, failure to retrieve learned procedures can leave a student completely at a loss.

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How to best engage students preconceptions and build on existing knowledge Allow students to use their own informal problem-solving strategies Wrong answer (usually partially correct) Find part that is wrong Understand why it is wrong Aids understanding Promotes metacognitive competencies

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How to best engage students preconceptions and build on existing knowledge Encourage math talk Actively discuss various approaches Learner focused Draw out and work with preconceptions Making student thinking visible Model the language

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How to best engage students preconceptions and build on existing knowledge Design instructional activities that can effectively bridge commonly held conceptions and targeted mathematical understandings More proactive Research common preconceptions and points of difficulty Carefully designed instructional activities

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Key Point to Remember Identifying real-world contexts whose features help direct students attention and thinking in mathematically productive ways is particularly helpful in building conceptual bridges between students informal experiences and the new formal mathematics they are learning.

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Principle #2: Understanding Requires Factual Knowledge and Conceptual Frameworks MDE HSCE for Mathematics p. 4 Conceptual Understanding Procedural Fluency Effective Organization of Knowledge Strategy Development Adaptive Reasoning How Students Learn Mathematics in the Classroom A Developmental Model for Learning Functions

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A Developmental Model for Learning Functions. Levels of Understanding 0 – Recognize and Extend Pattern 1 – Generalize the Pattern and Express it as a function (y = 2x). 2 – Look at graph and decide if a particular function could model it. 3 – Using Structures from Level 2 to create and understand more complex functions.

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Principle #3: A Metacognitive Approach Enables Student Self- Monitoring Learning about oneself as a Learner Thinker Problem solver

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Instruction That Supports Metacognition An emphasis on debugging Finding where the error is Why it is an error Correcting it Internal and external dialogue as support for metacognition Help students learn to interact Model clear descriptions, supportive questioning, helping techniques Seeking and giving help

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Targets and Student Goal-Setting Problem Learning Target Right?Wrong? Simple mistake? More study? 1 L2.1.2 translate roots to exponents A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (integer) 5 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (radicals) 6 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (rational) 7 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (integer) 8 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (radicals) 9 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (rational) 10 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (radicals) 11 A1.1.2 understand the rules of exponents (radicals) 12 A ,A2.1.7 understand exponential equations A ,A2.1.7 understand exponential table A ,A2.1.7 understand exponential graph A ,A2.1.7 understand exponential domain/range A ,A2.1.7 understand exponential asymptote

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Targets and Student Goal-Setting I AM GOOD AT THESE! Learning targets I got right: I AM PRETTY GOOD AT THESE, BUT NEED TO DO A LITTLE REVIEW Learning targets I got wrong because of a simple mistake: I NEED TO KEEP LEARNING THESE Learning targets I got wrong and Im not sure what to do to correct them:

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