Here’s how can we move a punctuation lesson beyond mere memorization and towards actually interesting thinking.
Differentiation TechniqueFind The Controversy
Read The OverviewFind The Controversy in Any Topic
By leveraging a point of contention, we can get students interested in just about any topic. Yes, even boring old spelling has controversy we can exploit!
Specific Examples of “Find The Controversy”
Let’s move beyond memorizing definitions and get kids grappling with the fascinating concept of infinity!
How one might revamp a “Wax Museum” project into something that focuses more on thinking than product.
Discovering what is interesting and unexpected about a triangle’s angles. What twists have I unintentionally spoiled for my students over the years?
The calendar is a source of fantastic factoring problems with many social studies add-ons. Why 12 months? Why 30 (or 31 or 28) days? Why are weeks 7 days long? Why don’t they fit into the months (or the year!)? Why did we do this to ourselves!?
Merlin Mann stated that employees’ motivation increases when they get to “build a robot” once in a while. That is, do something creative beyond regular work. Can we do this at school? Offices have “casual Fridays,” can we have “curiosity Fridays?”
The Ethics prompt of depth and complexity fits so easily into the humanities… but what about ethics in math?!
Here’s a fun thought experiment your students are sure to get a kick out of: when something is slowly replaced over time, is it still the same thing in the end?
A reader wrote in, asking how to differentiate for a task like reading analog clocks. What to do with a student who has mastered this skill? What’s a good math clock project?
It’s easy to fall in love with chasing the newest technology to use in the classroom. But sometimes, the perfect tool is a plain old calculator. We’ll be using this tool to develop curiosity about math.
Paradoxes and illusions are a great area of study to blow students’ minds. I recently discovered an amazing artist, Kokichi Sugihara, who creates and films optical illusions using just paper and balls.
A quick, but challenging discussion topic for any age: “Is it always fair to make decisions based on a majority vote?”
Let’s look at a way to encourage and scaffold curiosity in our classes using a “Book of Unanswered Questions.” Begin by sharing intriguing objects or images and asking your own questions. Give kids a chance to find answers to their questions. Then encourage students to bring in their own intriguing conversation starters. Finally, move students towards curriculum based questions.
Here are even more amazing paradoxes to baffle your students: Buridan’s Bridge, the Bootstrap Paradox, and the Barber Paradox.
Struggling math students shut down when they’re smacked with a mouthful of academic vocabulary right away. So lower the barrier of entry. Ask students to identify the conflict between two shapes, rather than defining “congruent sides” and “bisected diagonals.”
It’s essential to teach our students to think flexibly and consider multiple points of view. Flexible thinking leads to product innovation, diplomacy between nations, and advances in science. School, however, often encourages students to settle into a “one right answer” mindset.
We’ve seen some awesome logic paradoxes, now let’s examine a few visual paradoxes that would make great mental warm-ups for your class! The penrose triangle, penrose stairs, impossible cube, the blivet, and the Möbius strip! Plus, download a powerpoint to share with your students.
Last month’s paradox post was very popular, so here’s another. These are a blast to share with kids. Use them to help students think through a complex problem, finding all possibilities. Work on the ability to articulate thinking. And, naturally, have them find and create their own.
The paradox content imperative is a blast to expose students to. Here are three famous paradoxes to delight and confound your deep thinkers (and one bonus from Yogi Berra).
Here are four key attributes I look for when developing math projects: juicy data, interesting conflict, an expert’s lens, and a final product.
No one can deny that our gifted students have great power. They may be intellectual powerhouses, grasping concepts years ahead of peers. They may be emotionally sensitive, becoming aware of issues such as mortality at an early age. They may be leaders of people, showing leadership qualities from the very beginning. How do we teach them to use this power?
Moving from analysis to evaluation sure makes things more fun. Why? Check out these examples. Which would you rather answer?
Do your learners use the tool 👓 multiple perspectives to analyze stories, problems, and historical events? Here’s a TED Talk about real-life multiple perspectives that will make your students (and you!) reconsider basic assumptions.