I was reading through the NCTM newsfeed this morning, and I noticed a topic near and dear to my heart: Nixing the “butterfly method” when dealing with fractions. Over and over, teachers and math coaches aired their concerns over teaching this trick, because it does not lead to deeper understanding of the underlying math concepts.
I could not agree more! I have had teachers tell me that they fall back on the butterfly trick when either they are feeling pressed for time, and they just want to give their students something that works, or that they are not really confident about the concept themselves.
In the Math-Twitter-Blog-o-Sphere (MTBoS), Tina Cordone wrote a book and created a website called “Nix the Tricks”. This website is well worth a visit.
If you have struggled with not wanting to teach a trick, but didn’t know what else to do, or that was the way you were taught, and you want to deepen your own understanding, visit this site!
You can download a FREE pdf of her book Nix the Tricks. It is full of all the math “tricks” and alternate ways of teaching so that students have understanding instead of tricks that hold no meaning for them.
Tina Cordone explains it best:
If students do not understand, they are not doing math. Do not push
students too far, too fast (adolescent brains need time to develop before they
can truly comprehend abstraction), but do not sell your students short either.
The world does not need more robots; asking children to mindlessly follow an
algorithm is not teaching them anything more than how to follow instructions. (page 2)
I really enjoyed perusing the list of tricks, in between cringes, and look forward to a deeper read.
More to come!
#TinaCordone #MTBoS #NixtheTricks