Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.... Show More

Episodes

March 2, 2021 19 min

It's time for what you've all been waiting for. GAMES! Sure we don't want kids memorizing songs or rhymes to learn their facts, but in this episode Pam and Kim bring the fun into multiplication. What games are out there that can help students develop multiplicative reasoning? We're glad you asked :-)
Talking Points

  • What makes a good math game?
  • What makes a poor math game?
  • What are the best games today to help students o...
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    Last episode Pam and Kim discussed how not to teach multiplication facts. So how should we teach them? This episode we look at multiplication facts through the lens of mathematizing!
    Talking Points

  • The order that we teach content matters
  • The order we teach the facts matters
  • The key relationships students need to own facts
  • How parents can help their kids own their facts
  • Free Problem String Download: mathisfigureoutable.com/factsps

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    What are some great techniques to teach multiplication facts? What are the pitfalls to avoid? In this episode Pam and Kim discuss ways teachers may inadvertently 1) overemphasize speed, 2) introduce shame into their classrooms, and 3) focus on learning facts in isolation.  We've all made mistakes, and this episode is about learning and growing for our students.
    Talking Points:

  • The negative effects of timed multiplication fact tes...
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    In this episode Pam and Kim begin the first of another series: Multiplication Facts! What role can mathematizing and real math play in helping kids master their multiplication facts? Listen in as Pam and Kim outline the differences between 'knowing' and 'memorizing' multiplication facts. 
    Talking Points:

  • Why multiplication facts are important
  • The difference between knowing and memorizing facts
  • How to get rid of all the ...
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    February 2, 2021 21 min

    In the last two episodes, Pam and Kim did some really cool Problem Strings, but what do they think about Number Talks? Listen in as Pam explains how Number Talks and Problem Strings can go hand in hand for powerful results.
    Talking Points:

  • Why call 'Number Talks' 'Problem Talks'?
  • Short term uses for Problem Talks
  • The best use for Problem Talks
  • The purpose of Problem Strings
  • When to do Problem Talks
  • When to do Problem Strin...
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    It's time for another Problem String! In this episode Pam and Kim develop one of their favorite multiplication strategies, it's so slick! In doing so they talk more about the importance of letting students discover and develop relationships, as opposed to teaching strategies step by step.
    Talking Points

  • What makes a good Problem String?
  • How do we help kids learn the appropriate uses of alternative strategies?
  • What to avoid when...
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    January 19, 2021 25 min

    In this episode Pam and Kim want to help you develop a cool multiplication strategy. Which multiplication strategy? We aren't going to tell you until the end of the episode : -). We believe in developing strategies as natural outcomes, and then giving it a name. How do we do it? With Problem Strings! Listen in as Pam and Kim go through a Problem String to develop this super handy multiplication strategy.

    Talking points:

  • Are alter...
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    January 12, 2021 25 min

    Don't you just love taking a break to play with numbers? In this week's episode, Pam and Kim share some of the ways that they engage with kids outside of school to get them mathematizing. Parents, ever wondered what can you do for just ten minutes to help your kids build relationships? This episode is perfect for you. Together we can all learn to make math fun!
    Talking points:

  • Math over the holidays
  • Finger Flashing
  • Which One Do...
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    January 5, 2021 23 min

    In this episode Pam and Kim dive deep into their favorite model for multiplication, division and solving proportions: ratio tables! They'll discuss how ratio tables can be a powerful tool to help students develop reasoning from elementary to high school.
    Talking Points:

  • What are ratio tables?
  • How to, and not to, use ratio tables in the classroom
  • Using ratio tables to organize data
  • Using ratio tables to model thinking
  • Using ratio tabl...
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    December 29, 2020 21 min

    This week Pam and Kim wrap up their discussion on the Perspectives that Impact Math Pedagogy. Understanding the X, Y, and Z perspectives not only helps us understand one another better, but empowers us to choose to take on the real mathematics perspective. Listen in as Pam and Kim discuss the need for mathematics to be experienced, and the power in developing mathematical reasoning.
    Talking Points:

  • How do each of the perspectives ben...
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    December 22, 2020 21 min

    We've made it to our last (and maybe favorite) perspective that impacts pedagogy. The Y perspective describes those who struggle with fake math because they deeply desire to know "why". Pam and Kim describe people in their lives who grew up with the Y perspective and discuss their great value to the mathematics community.
    Talking Points

  • What describes the Y perspective?
  • How adults with the Y perspective feel about mathemat...
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    December 15, 2020 17 min

    This episode is all about the Z perspective. Listen in to hear about the perspective that Pam estimates effects the majority of math educators, it was Pam's perspective too! Pam and Kim parse out the characteristics of the Z perspective and the huge impact it has on teaching today. 
    Talking Points

  • Pam forgot how to subtract
  • What is the Z perspective?
  • How do Z-perspective students think?
  • Pam's first experience with Math Club
  • How c...
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    December 8, 2020 20 min

    Continuing in the Perspectives Impacting Pedagogy Series, Pam and Kim discuss the X perspective. Did you play with numbers as a kid? Did math make natural sense to you, regardless of how your teacher taught it? You might relate to the X perspective. Listen in to learn how the X perspective influences teachers and students in mathematics.  
    Talking Points

  • What is the X perspective?
  • Why X-perspective teachers teach with algorithms
  • The &#...
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    December 1, 2020 13 min

    This episode is part one to a new five part series! Pam and Kim introduce the three main perspectives impacting pedagogy. Understanding these perspectives helps teachers analyze their own teaching have productive conversations regarding math education. 
    Talking Points:

  • The three perspectives impacting pedagogy
  • Why math teachers can often talk past each other
  • Take the new xyz QUIZ!
  • Find this episodes transcript HERE

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    November 24, 2020 16 min

    How can we help students feel comfortable with the commutative property? In this episode Pam and Kim go through some addition and multiplication problems to demonstrate how they think and reason using the the commutative property. 
    Talking Points

  • The commutative property in counting
  • The commutative property in addition
  • Using the commutative property for percentages
  • Find the transcript HERE

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    November 17, 2020 12 min

    Kim relates a great math experience she had with her son Luke. Luke found a way to mess around with place value in addition that Pam went most of her life not knowing! Listen in as Pam and Kim discuss the importance of learning to manipulate place value as students develop into mathematicians.
    Talking Points:

  • Introducing the swapping strategy
  • What problems fit nicely with the swapping strategy?
  • Place labeling vs. Place value
  • Send us (&#...
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    November 10, 2020 21 min

    Pam and Kim are back at it with percents. They discuss the 3 types of percent problems and how they solve them using relations, not with algorithms.  Are percents truly figure-out-able? You bet! Grab a pen and paper for this one as we solve some percent problems!
    Talking Points

  • The three types of percent problems
  • The disadvantages of teaching procedural methods to answer percent problems
  • Math is fun when it's figure-out-able!
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    November 3, 2020 12 min

    Pam and Kim are back at it showing that percents too are figure-out-able. In this episode they solve some percentage problems and share their strategies. Listen in as they go through a percentage problem string!

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    October 26, 2020 19 min

    Pam and Kim explore what it means to be flexible with fractions, decimals, and percents. They discuss how we can become more flexible as we deal with rational numbers, and how we can be judicious problem solvers.

     Talking Points

  • Why kids of today are more familiar with percentages
  • Why flexibility matters
  • How to become more flexible using different representations of rational numbers
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    October 19, 2020 17 min

    You might want your magnifying glass for this one, cause this episode we're getting a little nitpicky. Pam and Kim discuss common nomenclature/math-slang that can take the reasoning out of mathematics. They offer useful alternatives and illustrate the importance of clear mathematical language
    Talking Points:

  • How to add Butt-Cheeks
  • Why students try 'canceling' everything
  • Why reducing 6/8ths to 3/4s might give me more pie...?
  • ...
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