Interesting Problem Follow-up

4 02 2011

When you look for solutions rather than answers you broaden your perspective and have greater probability of achieving success.

Let me start off by saying this, our goals should not be to find THE answer, but rather solutions!

In the post “Interesting Problems…” I stated, “Our students must learn to try until complete-failure not semi-failure!” So, as Thursday came students handed in their work with varied results.

Some students wrote just the answer, despite my instruction and warning that if all they handed in was the answer they would receive a zero. My theory on why they did this is two-fold: it was a desperation move hoping that if they turned in something they would get some credit (their hopes were not rewarded) or, their imbedded desire to find the answer overcame their ability to follow instructions. As far-fetched as this seems it is possible. 

Some students recorded their processes yet could not find the answer. To be honest I don’t believe any of my students tried as hard as they could have.  When asked how many of them consulted with all of their classmates (18 total students) none of them raised their hands.  My point in that demonstration was to prove they didn’t exhaust themselves and had they tried to find solutions rather than the answer they would have found what they were looking for.

And finally, there were some who figured it out. Not because they figured out the riddle but because they asked other students and teachers. They used their resources, created solutions to their problem, and found the answer. 

All in all I would say this was a successful activity in the fact that it was an event during which the process of looking for solutions rather than answers was started in my classroom.  However, I believe that if I do not continue to cultivate a “solutions instead of answers” mentality it will have been for nothing.

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2 responses

4 02 2011
Brandon Burnett

YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A GUINEA PIG

4 02 2011
Mason Stanley

LoL lets be honest, you’re no more my guinea pig than I am yours…

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