Solve Problems Worth Solving

Posted by Erik Carlson on 10/11/2018

Dan Meyer, one of my favorite math educators, introduced me to the phrase “solve problems worth solving.”  Park Day School accepts this challenge to pose problems that are relevant to students in Kindergarten through 8th grade, that will sustain their interest and reinforce for them that their math skills are useful.  The problems may have real-world applications and they can be attacked with a variety of strategies.  This is different than how many of us grown-ups learned math, by looking in a textbook at the sample problem, practicing with a set of similar problems, and then checking the answer in the back.  I appreciate now the moment in a math class where a student needs to defend their thinking and share their solution strategy with classmates.  Our goal is to develop confident mathematical thinkers, who are ready and eager to explore increasingly complex problems.

Watch a video featuring recent Park Day Graduate, Jesse C, class of 2017, talking about mathematical thinking, and the enduring understandings he and other graduates developed during their time at Park Day.

Get to know members of our Middle School math and science team better by volunteering at the EBMMF on Oct 21! The 8th grade students in Carrie Moy’s science class will be demonstrating the musical instruments that they created using a digital program and the school’s new laser cutter. 7th and 8th grade math teacher, Jeff Allen, runs a stone polishing booth every year-- stop by and see what he does when he is not teaching math! Also, 6th grade volunteers are needed at the Nerdy Derby to make announcements. 

With gratitude and optimism,
Erik Carlson
Interim Head of School