The United States is known for its culture of achievement around math. In Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler discusses the toxicity of this achievement culture, which she says disincentivizes teachers from using open-ended tasks that allow for multiple pathways to plausible solutions—instead they opt for more reliable means for approaching math, usually in the form of workbooks and worksheets.
In reality, though, math is a literacy, and it’s important that it be treated as such. It’s reductive to teach it only through simple call-and-response questions. Math requires curiosity, inquiry, and, most importantly, play.
To counter this culture of achievement and make math more play-based, our students last year built a model of a million using aluminum cans. To learn more about the project and read the full article, check out my new post on Edutopia!