What are pseudocontexts, and should K-6 math teachers be concerned about them?
I came across the term in Dan Meyer’s excellent blog, in which he explores better ways of engaging students in learning math, and calls out “fake math” and poor teaching. You should go check out Dan’s work, I find it really challenging and encouraging.
As a publisher of educational content for K-6 math, I am deeply concerned about students’ recognition of the importance and the usefulness, the utility of the math they learn.
This means that I am always looking for ways to show students examples of math in real life. But does that mean I have to restrict my examples to ones where someone is asking a specific math question that matches the topic students are learning, or can I ask questions which someone might ask, but probably didn’t?
What do you think? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.
Recent examples of “math in real life contexts” are found in my Where’s the Math? video series, which you can see here. Am I guilty of introducing pseudocontexts?
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Links to other pseudocontexts:
- “Town Squares” problem (Curious Cheetah blog)
- “Saturday Blimp” problem (Dan Meyers)
- “How tall is Becky?” (via Cathy Yenca on Twitter)
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