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Monday, December 01, 2014

Powering Through the Math Standards

Sometimes the standards feel like a road map, and other times they feel like a line of soldiers blocking true learning.

Today the soldier metaphor was at play.

I carefully designed a few lessons that integrated our Earth and Space study with place value.  I started by showing National Geographic's panel discussion about space exploration which created all kinds of discussion, questions, and ideas--everyone wanted to talk about space exploration, and I felt a need to emphasize the lesson objective: the many ways to write numbers.

I noted that there would be more time later to talk space (and there will be) and I added that it's important that they know how to speak the language or math and work with math skills in order to learn and share important scientific information.

We powered through the math standards-based skill focus. They enjoyed working with the space numbers. I also left a lot of links to explore on the home study list.  Later we'll dig deeper into the amazing Earth and Space study--a study as Bill Nye notes that is both awesome and humbling.

Standards, like any guidelines, are written to guide. In truth, we work with real people--students who have passions, interests, and varying speeds when it comes to learning new information. The big challenge is to teach everyone with strength, and that takes craft, craft that weaves together students' interests and passions as well as important foundation skills.