My colleagues and I decided to enrich our CMP 3 curriculum with one of Cathy Fosnot’s Math in Context Units, Best Buys, Ratios and Rates. It has been a rewarding experience and changed the way that I think about teaching.
One thing I have regained is the benefit of “struggle.” Students that are willing to struggle are able to gain more from a problem than students that insist on having an answer first. It is sometimes tempting to teach what students need to know before they have had this experience.
I have always enjoyed teaching this way, but time constraints and the need to finish the standards in a timely way often scare me into a different teaching style. I gave my students some extra time today. I wanted to finish the problem and share out by the end of the class period today, but students were engaged and learning. I let them go on with the problem for the whole period. One student looked at me so excited and said, “I’m so excited, it feels so good to struggle and then get it.” She had just discovered what I was trying to teach. I didn’t do any of the talking, she did all of it and she learned!