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There is great value in allowing them to explore and contrast many different ways to solve problems.”Star and colleague Bethany Rittle-Johnson of Vanderbilt University have conducted a number of studies over the past decade that demonstrate the benefits of comparing a variety of problem-solving approaches for learning math, especially algebra.
Everyone understands the importance of problem solving and equipping children to be able to problem solve.
In several recent studies, Star and his colleagues have studied the impact of teachers’ use of these materials on their students’ learning.
He calls the results quite promising.“Our research suggests that using our curriculum materials was not especially difficult for teachers, and that students enjoyed and benefited from the emphasis on multiple strategies,” says Star.
When you’re faced with a complex problem and you hit what looks like a wall, don’t let it stop you. When all we see is a big mountain of what has to be accomplished, it can be intimidating. Musicians, physicians, professional athletes — all invest many years of training, practicing, learning, and all of them get to the end goal by taking one step at a time.
Math is a pyramid, not a wall, and you get to the top by taking the first step.”The messages are important to establish a positive tone and boost students’ confidence because some students arrive in class feeling defeated and convinced that they are not good at math. In my class, we have fun solving problems, and that, in itself, is a life lesson.