ALL IT TAKES IS WILLINGNESS TO PLAY. And that is principle five.
Mathematics is not about following rules. It’s about playing and exploring and fighting and looking for clues and sometimes breaking things.
Einstein called play the highest form of research. And a math teacher who lets their students play with math gives them the gift of ownership. Playing with math can feel like running through the woods when you were a kid. And even if you were on a path, it felt like it all belonged to you.
Parents, if you want to know how to nurture the mathematical instincts of your children, play is the answer. What books are to reading, play is to mathematics.
And a home filled with blocks and puzzles and games and play is a home where mathematical thinking can flourish. I believe we have the power to help mathematical thinking flourish everywhere. We can’t afford to misuse math to create passive rule-followers.
Math has the potential to be our greatest asset in teaching the next generation to meet the future with courage, curiosity, and creativity.
And if all students get a chance to experience the beauty and power of authentic mathematical thinking, maybe it won’t sound so strange when they say, “Math? I actually love math.”
Download This Transcript as PDF here: Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching_ Dan Finkel (Transcript)
Resources for Further Reading: