I’m referring to Andrew Stadel and his math class. (See link for details: http://mr-stadel.blogspot.ca/2012/06/estimation-is-key.html)
I would have loved to be in his class!
One: He had a hook. He took a picture of the parking lot and asked the kids to guess how many spaces were in the lot. The picture in itself is ordinary but the question, is quite profound. If I was in the class, especially on the first day, had he just asked the question, I probably wouldn’t have been as engaged. But the combination of the picture, which is part of the school, and the question that I’ve never even thought about before, would definitively have me thinking. I’m already hooked – which I guess is the point of a hook. Heh.
Two: Not just going into the topic right away, he discussed the pros and cons of making estimations. He could have easily gotten right into estimations since the students would have already been engaged. He, however, had the students come up with reasons why estimations were good and bad, and at the same time, validated what the students already knew about estimation and refreshed what some kids have not quite remembered. I like it. For me, as a student. I would have felt more confident knowing that estimations could be wrong.
Three: The fact that solving the problem was hands-on and visual fascinated me! He didn’t have the answer either! He asked a question that he wanted to find out and invited the students to join him on his adventure. As a student, I would have been excited knowing that we were all learning together!
Four: The fact that the lesson was so much more than estimation of numbers, but rather, how estimation is so much a part of our lives. We estimate everyday and not just in the classroom. He took them out of the class to experience a real-world estimation. He not only emphasized the importance of an estimate as being a starting point (doesn’t have to be correct), but also demonstrated how estimation/math also lives outside the four walls of a classroom. Loved it!