A question I have been asked frequently is, “What should the common core look like in practice?” In my opinion there is no one right answer to that question. However, the common core’s eight standards for mathematical practice suggests that it should not be business as usual.
The first of those eight standards requires students to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. For me, this suggests the need for problems that are something other than the word problems in textbooks. They need to be engaging, perplexing, and present a challenge to students. For older students a good source of this type of problem can be found in Dan Meyer’s blog, dy/dan. His 3 Acts videos entitled Hot Coffee, Incredibly Shrinking Dollar, and Domino Skyscraper are just a few examples of this type of problem. Meyer poses non-routine problems in an engaging manner without immediately disclosing every detail necessary for students to solve the problems. Determining the important information needed to solve each problem should be a part of the students’ discovery process and is a critical component of sense making.
We, at ESSDACK, are looking forward to meeting and learning more about “Real World Math” from Meyer on February 6, 2012.