As I mentioned in my previous post, the Exeter Math Problem sets and the way students and teachers approach the mathematics inspired me. I implemented their Math4 problem set into my AP Calculus BC course. After eleven days of class, here are two quotes from students:
“I think I did really well on this quiz, which is weird because I felt like I was lost every day during class.”
“In the beginning, I was afraid of putting my solutions on the board because I knew they were not completely correct. Now I realize that i’m not supposed to get them completely correct. I’m much less afraid to tackle the problems now.”
I’m shocked that these quotes manifested themselves so quickly.
The first quote is the classic experience of an interleaved curriculum. When a student solves a number of problems that are unrelated in a given day, he doesn’t feel like he is learning. However, since the problems all build off of each other each day, the long-term learning is much more permanent.
The second quote reminds me of Carol Dweck’s inspirational work on mindsets. When a student develops his growth mindset, he focuses on the problem solving process. He doesn’t attach his ego to the answer. Fostering a growth mindset within my students is near and dear to my heart, but that will be left for a future post.