As I’ve referenced many times, I’ve not taught any of this elementary material to kids before and there are lots of struggles learning (and teaching) this material that are totally new to me. Often concepts that I think will be easy are difficult, and just as often concepts that I think will be difficult seem to be easy.
One thing that I’m really struggling to communicate to my older son right now is the importance of properly labeling diagrams. Maybe this is something that just about every student struggles with, I don’t know, but for sure I am struggling to communicate how important it is.
The struggle with labeling is illustrated well watching my son work through a problem about similar triangles from this morning. He does a good job identifying the geometric ideas in the problem, but has a hard time connecting the dots because nothing is labelled. It was really hard for me to sit on my hands and not help him through this particular difficulty today:
Once he does label one side of the square as “x”, the solution to the problem comes really quickly. I wish could find the right way to emphasize the importance of labeling diagrams properly – hopefully struggling through problems like this one will help get that lesson sink in.