What a kid learning math can look like: struggling through a great geometry problem

Saw an incredible problem posted on twitter today:

 

Here’s the picture in case it isn’t clear from the tweet:

 

picture

 

When my son got home from school I asked him to give it a shot.  The video is over 8 min long, but it shows what a kid struggling through a challenging problem can look like.  It is important – especially in middle school, I think – that kids know that math isn’t just about speed.

Also, though, give the problem a shot before checking out the video – it is wonderful and involves no calculating that can’t be done in your head (i.e. this isn’t a trig problem):

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Comments

3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. In the video, there was a moment when it seemed you were about to say there was an “easy” way to see the answer. How do you feel about these alternatives:
    – elementary
    – without those tools
    – more direct
    – more visual

    • The idea you are getting at is actually a big struggle for me right now.

      His school is big (and I mean *big*) on Mathcounts stuff. They’ve won the state title something like 8 years in a row and have had kids who’ve won the national title.

      He didn’t make the team this year, but would like to next year. That means working on speed because all (or very nearly all) of the Mathcounts problems have quick solutions.

      But it kills me to work on speed.

      Anyway, what you are getting at is a current struggle and I’m not sure of the right words or ideas.

      • Tough. I’m sure you are saying the right things, but the school environment is a powerful influence.

        If I recall, your family recently moved to the Boston area. We are also thinking of moving to/near Boston, with schools for the kids a major consideration. If you are willing to share your experience directly, my email is joshuacgreene at hotmail.

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