When I’m designing a lesson, one of my go-to tactics is to fight against my own “Curse of Knowledge.” The more familiar we become with a topic, the harder it gets to remember that there are lots of unexpected surprises. **We take the content for granted and rob our own lessons of curiosity**.

So, approach your lesson-planning with a beginner’s mind, wondering: **if I knew nothing, what would be unexpected about this topic?**

### So What’s The Twist With Triangles?

What are the unexpected twists or interesting patterns of triangles?

- I’d always tell my students that a triangles’ angles must sum up to 180º. But, friends,
**imagine allowing students to**Build ten different shaped triangles, class. Finished? Now I’d like you to sum up the angles in each triangle. What do we notice?*play*with triangles first. - Imagine challenging students to create a triangle with a right angle. Then,
**challenge them to create a triangle with**As they realize it cannot be done, discuss!*two*right angles! - Pose the question: what’s the
*largest*angle you can create inside of a triangle? - What happens when we make one of the triangle’s angles very small? What happens to the other angles?
- What if we make one angle very very large? What happens to the other angles?
- You could also extend these wonderings to side lengths.
**When we make an angle big, what does it do to the triangles’ sides?**

When we build our lesson around what’s actually interesting, all of the sudden a dull lesson becomes quite exciting (for them *and for me).

### Build Around Unexpected Patterns

The angles inside of a triangle may not seem inherently interesting. The fact that the angles must sum up to 180º may seem like a dull fact we have to just tell kids. But, if we approach this topic purposefully looking for surprises or controveries, **there are lots of interesting discoveries that we can purposefully set up for our students**.

This tactic is the idea behind inductive learning: human brains are *really* good at pattern recognition. Lessons that build on patterns are naturally in line with the human brain, which means better learning and more dopamine! And **I guarantee** you that when students *discover* these properties, they’ll remember them far better than if you just told them.

All of this triangle thinking eventually turned into this lesson over at Byrdseed.TV.