2017-12-18 The Power of Visual Models

A Twitter friend (I cannot recall at time of posting) posted this problem out for others to solve and/or showcase how to explain how to solve it for students.

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As I love problem solving and those sorts of challenges, I jumped on this to make sense of the problem and to see if I could offer some assistance….well, I was trying my usually algebraic approach to solving this problem and I was getting answers that were either negative or didn’t follow the ratio rule embedded in the problem. So I know my answer was incorrect, but I was failing to see the problem.

Reading the problem, like actually reading the last sentence (I sound like our students) and describing what was being asked, I changed how I was thinking about the problem, and that unlocked a completely different way of seeing the problem. Being able to solve it in a few moves, it made me smile that my learnings should have pointed me this way, but I needed to attend to the reading of the problem and I was stuck in a loop and didn’t think about solving other ways….a good reminder that if we get stuck, doing the same thing and expecting different results is silly.

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With Christmas break upon us, I have the opportunity to learn, explore, and reflect as we move forward into the new year.

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