Saturday, October 24, 2015

"Thanks for allowing me to think!"

October 24, 2015

Kim Marshall talks about fitting in mini observations into the nooks and crannies of the day.  As a second year math administrator 6-12 I have tried to embrace this idea and visit classrooms daily.  In my admin program it was always said, "If you don't go, you don't know."

I was recently on a visit of a 8th grade Algebra class where a student was working on the inequality in the photo.  The computer program gave some solutions that asked the students to plug and chug the choices.  As I sat next to the student I tried to resist the urge to solve the problem myself.

In the past few days I have had so many great conversations with middle and high school teachers, even some teachers of other disciplines.  I've given the problem to my students with mixed results. "Case work," which is one way to solve, does not seem to be a strategy that most students know.  One teacher wrote later, "Thanks for allowing me to think!" Another wrote to me saying, "they look very straightforward but require lots of great thinking."  On Twitter I shared this problem and fellow colleagues suggested solutions.  

It would seem that rational inequalities aren't focus areas of our curriculums. Nevertheless, it should reinforce for us the importance of checking the reasonableness of a solution.

How would you solve this problem?  In talking with teachers and students we've discussed three (3) ways.

All the best,

Patrick Morrissey

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