We started lesson planning on Tuesday. I’ve had means, medians, and modes on the brain since then. Coming into this, I knew lesson planning was going to be hard, I just didn’t know why.
I am not teaching math the way I was taught math. I watched teachers talk at the class and write on the board for 40 minutes a day, while I either a) wrote down everything they wrote down or b) completed the homework that was due the next day as the material was being instructed.
Time (and failing test scores) have proven that this method of instruction is entirely inefficient. Students need to be engaged in the material: doing group work, talking to their peers, drawing their own conclusions, and reasoning through a problem themselves. Memorizing formulas will no longer suffice- because what happens when you forget the formula? Students perform far better when they critically think about a problem, instead of simply memorizing that any number to the power of zero equals one. It’s my responsibility to teach them to reason, to think, to engage when it comes to math.
One of the key methods to teach your students how to develop problem solving skills is to have them develop a hypothesis, test it, and then use that knowledge to solve problems on their own. It’s the five E’s: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate. Think about how successful chemistry labs are at instruction rather than being told how a reaction occurs. I need to make this same educational process happen…but in math.
Thus far, I’ve found that creating these lesson plans requires more hours than expected, a handful of creativity, and a lot of google searches.