Do you see these as two different concepts or the same concept?
When I was school-aged I saw these as two very different concepts. Math was memorization, formulas and one dimensional algorithms. Give me a story problem like this: A carpenter can cut a log into 4 pieces along its length in 12 minutes. How long will it take him to cut a log into 8 pieces? And I would remove the numbers (as that is math) and then try and put them altogether to formulate an answer. I would also do this quickly because math was about speed (timed tests, first person with right answer, round the world math games). Getting the answer quickly meant you were good at math. There was no thinking in math, you either knew it or you didn’t, you were either good at math or you weren’t. I quickly assumed that I was not a math person.
I don’t believe that any more. What changed? How I started thinking about math. I started pondering, how can I get numbers to work for me? That meant I needed to think about numbers differently and get beyond the algorithms and formulas.
Key points for teachers in preparing students:
For both teachers and students, it is okay to admit you don’t know. Model how to figure something out. Pin down what it is you don’t know. Talk through trying to figure it out. It is okay to make mistakes, we learn from mistakes, use the insight about what doesn’t work to understand what does. Ask questions, consult resources. Respond to answers with personal skepticism - “do I really believe it to be true?” “Can’t these steps be applied to all subject matters?” “Isn’t this how we actually learn life skills?”
Research shows that the more time spent in math helps improve students reading scores and social skills.
Along with MANGO Math games and activities try out these forensic kits from Community Learning. These kits help students refine their creative thinking by using collaboration, deductive reasoning and analytical analysis to solve fun, challenging mysteries.