Problem Solving Emphasis
Students often ask me when are we going to use this or what is the point of learning this if I’m not going to be a math teacher or engineer. This question got “under my skin” when I first started teaching. My reaction use to be one of irritation or avoidance.
Today, I also ask this question. What I believe is a decent answer is simply this: we learn this to be problem solvers. I desire my students to have the tools to problem solve. In my class my students will use strategies to solve problems, not just memorize formulas. These include making a drawing, looking for patterns, construction a table, guessing and checking, working backwards, acting it out, and solving a similar but simpler problem.
Pictured is a small groups drawing of what the distributive property would look like involving a garden.