WESM philosophy of math: “In the real world of problem solving and doing mathematics, there are no answer books. Doing mathematics includes justification as a means of determining whether an answer is correct.”
John A. Van de Walle (Elementary and Middle School Mathematics:Teaching Developmentally)
Mathematics uses patterns and strategies to analyze situations and solve problems. Looking for these patterns and understanding them help us deal with real-life issues. The beauty of mathematical understanding is that we can apply it to every moment of our lives.
Components of Mathematical Understanding
Math lessons that apply to life
- Understand the issue
- Find the essential points.
- Try to see the problem from many angles
- Look for patterns
- Take the first step. (Even the most difficult problem can be broken into smaller and easier problems).
- Make mistakes, but don’t give up.
- Examine mistakes from different points of view.
- Aim is for logical and creative thinking
- Analyze and revise solutions to develop mastery
- The more we know the more questions we have.
Sample Math Club Problem
A lemonade stand only sells juice in 8 ounce servings. However, they only have a 6 ounce glass and a 10 ounce glass--neither of which has any markings on them. The owner will not sell any more or any less than an 8 ounce serving. Is it possible to use the two glasses to produce exactly 8 ounces in the 10 ounce glass?
If so, explain how, and if not, explain why not.