Saturday, January 23, 2016

Teaching for Conceptual Understanding

My math classes focus on teaching math for understanding, not rote memorization of processes. For sure knowing basic facts and how to compute is important, but understanding strategies and why procedures work is just as valuable.

In the post 5 Tips To Help Students Develop Conceptual Understanding In Math, Crystal Morey describes her approach to inquiry-based instruction and the ways in which she develops students' conceptual understanding.

This quote highlights one problem teachers using this approach run into.
"Since I’ve begun to focus on the development of conceptual understanding, I’ve run into some challenges. Students and parents alike want me to teach short cuts and algorithms. Yet, when I hear students talking and thinking mathematically, I’m certain that this struggle will prepare them to be risk-takers, not only in my classroom but in their daily lives, too."
It's a post worth reading. You can also see her in action teaching students about inequalities, with a focus on concepts FIRST and notation last.

Click on the video title to be taken to Teaching Channel for a transcript of the lesson, copy of the lesson plan, and more.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What Color Were Dinosaurs?

Based on fossil evidence, how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? In this TEDEd lesson, Len Bloch shows how making sense of the evidence requires careful examination of the fossil and a good understanding of the physics of light and color.

In this terrific video you'll learn a bit about the microraptor, a four-winged carnivorous dinosaur with iridescent black feathers, as well as the work that scientists do in determining how dinosaurs actually looked.
You can find more resources at How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were?