I have kiddos working in math teams. The objective is to have time to think alone, then to collaborate with a partner and finally, to check in with the team of four. All are responsible for each other’s learning and understanding of strategies and accuracy of answers.
This structure has been instructive to my students, but as always, I am the biggest learner in the room. Each day I see new issues crop up. And, what I hope to create, a spirit of questioning, critiquing, and analyzing strategies, is always being tested.
When we walked out to lunch today, I overheard a boy say, “How can it be 18 miles? It was only 2/5 of a cup? It doesn’t make sense.” The problem lived on through the lunchline and the girls who were fairly sure the answer was 18 miles, just let it go.
The girls were correct. And they tried to convince their teammate during class. But they couldn’t. Later I was asked, “How can I get my team to listen to me?” And that’s what I’m thinking about tonight. About how we see ourselves and our ideas. Why some students are talking about it long after the event. And why others let it go.
I can’t help but think about the experiences recounted in this Strangers podcast. Does this dynamic play a part in this math micro story? Would it be that same if the group was made up of all boys? Is this about mindset? About gender? And ultimately, what we can do as teachers to empower all students?