Reflective Paper - Math 213
Math 213 is a class packed full of information valuable to the development of a professional math teacher. There were several major mathematical concepts addressed in the class ranging from problem solving, numeration systems and sets, whole numbers and their operations, to algebraic thinking, integers and number theory, rational numbers as fractions, decimals and real numbers, and proportional reasoning, percents, and applications. This class enhanced my understanding of math in general, as well as enabled me to explore strategies on how to best present mathematical concepts in an elementary classroom setting.
Since children learn differently than adults do, and do not have prior knowledge to draw meaning from, an important characteristic of a professional math teacher is to have the ability to create a classroom environment where students are encouraged to take risks and explore problems while learning problem solving strategies. According to the class textbook, A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers, “If problems are approached in only one way, a mind-set may be formed.” (Billstein, R., Libeskind, S., & Lott, J., 2010) Teachers need to give students a tool box of strategies, such as, look for a pattern, examine a related problem, identify a subgoal, make a diagram, or work backwards.
While developing student’s problem solving skills, professional math teachers must begin to teach students to understand the meanings of whole numbers. This step will serve as scaffolding for students as they encounter more advanced concepts. Teachers should encourage the use of manipulatives, such as base-ten blocks, as they will help students relate whole numbers to something real. Teachers can also use Venn diagrams as they allow students to graphically organize material, which aids in the development of their analytical skills and teaches them to draw conclusions based on specific criteria....
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