Well I’m back with another recommended resource book I just finished reading.
I know, I know, I’m a horrible blogger and TMC attendee because I didn’t do my required TMC aftermath post before this one but I assure you I will be getting that blog post done within the week. Now on to the resource…………
Mathematical Practice #4 is all about modeling. I have a confession though….no matter how many times I read the description of MP4, look at related tasks and/or chat with people about the amazingness of mathematical modeling I’m always unsure of how to fit it in the classroom. I’m guilty as a teacher for being one who says
“Gosh, I know how important it is but where will I fit it? I don’t have time!”
So when I saw Modeling with Mathematics by Nancy Butler Wolf and learned that it was for middle school (maybe some HS) I jumped on the opportunity to read this bad boy and start figuring out a solution to a problem in my classrooms (instead of playing the BLAME GAME of course).
The #1 thing this book has is great tasks you can use with your students. There is the infamous Barbie Bungee task in there but there’s also a lot more tasks that can be used right from the book without modification (there is also room for modification too).
Something I really love is how the author points out what makes a task a modeling task and goes further to even compare the difference between word problems, problem solving and modeling problems. This helped me to see clearly the definitions because to be really honest I’m not sure I really knew the difference with as much clarity as i do now.
Majority of the book is dedicated to the process of modeling. There are chapters that refer to each “step” in the process ad those chapters go into detail what you as a teacher do to help facilitate the process with students. There are short vignettes that give examples of conversations between student and teacher which totally helped me to make sense of how to facilitate this scary modeling process.
My favorite part of the entire book however was the section about Mathematical Autonomy. I had to stop myself from highlighting the entire section!This part spoke to me because it was really about classroom culture, being student centered and allowing students to be leaders in their own learning journey. This is one of the biggest struggles I see with teachers in classrooms (even in my own): How to build a truly student centered classroom environment where there is respect from all parties involved in the class.
This resource would be great in your classroom if you’re like me and was (past tense because I feel a bit more confident now) intimidated by the idea of integrating modeling in your class. She provides a framework to move through and lots of ideas of how to start having students engage in modeling. It’s scary but the thing that the author says about modeling is it is the way to get the best bang for your buck!
So go out and read it and then come back and let me know how you liked it and use it in your classroom!