Challenge Accepted: Making Math Fun and Useful - Digital Promise Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

Challenge Accepted: Making Math Fun and Useful

March 30, 2016 | By

This was a fun project at Kalama Intermediate School in Maui, Hawaii. It was a brilliant learning experience for the instructional coach, for the storyteller, for the kids, and for me! It was a reminder that having a process to engage, to help investigate and clarify, and to act and create WORKS!

I asked the students: “What is one thing that you would change about school?” By consensus, they agreed that math was a problem for them. After a quick inventory as to why: we narrowed it down to either 1) it’s too hard or 2) it’s boring. Our essential questioning process led us to the challenge: to make math interesting, fun, and most importantly, useful.

They were given 15 minutes to think through the process they needed to add value to a problem they felt they could fix about math. In the interview, you can see and hear that the students had a process to take a problem defined as difficult and, as a team, solve it. They used Internet resources to help them explain the problem after solving it, and finally, it was their turn to make it fun, interesting, and/or useful.

I loved how they planned their stories. Once the learning goal that we all created together  (the challenge) was clear, we enjoyed how they defined their own steps, goals, and roles. For a quick project, they all knew the what, they why, and thought through their own HOWs. I was in teacher heaven!

It was great for the students to see the importance of planning along the way. It was a fun day because we took something that was traditionally out of their control and made it theirs. In other words–they owned the learning once they knew they had a part in the solution process. They created and owned the process, we shifted control, and they used and leveraged their tablets to make math fun and matter more!

Reflection and video by Marco Torres, Director of Story at Digital Promise

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