“We often give children answers to remember instead of problems to solve.”
Traditional educational methods have always been criticized for being based basically on the memorization of content and the lack of context to relate these contents with reality. For this reason, teachers who are a little committed always try to find alternatives, trying to apply that “if a child does not learn in the way we teach him, perhaps we should teach him in the way he learns.” Motivation becomes, in this context, an essential ingredient that every good teacher should try to incorporate into their practice.
Mathematics are a clear example, as they have always followed rigid methods to learn content in a systematic way. In our school, however, we have been trying for several years to respond to the new and always changing reality of our students. We work on mathematics in a manipulative and contextualized way, making learning meaningful. This change has brought into our math classes activities such as mathematical duels, mathematical mikados, using popsicle sticks, working symmetry using LEGO, and even different ways of adding or substracting.
If we look back, with the perspective we already have, we can say that the results are very positive. Many children say that mathematics is their favourit subject; and their performance has improved. Students have a more active role in their own learning, they are able to solve a problem in several ways, to check and understand for themselves the operations they carry out …; and something very important as well: each student adapts to his level of proficiency the way to perform the necessary operations to solve a problem.