Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Pam Harris

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Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.

Available episodes

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1 day ago

Ep 23: The Commutative Property

How can we help students feel comfortable with the commutative property? In this episode Pam and Kim go through some addition and multiplication problems to demonstrate how they think and reason using the the commutative property.

Nov 17, 2020

Ep 22: The Swapping Strategy

Kim relates a great math experience she had with her son Luke. Luke found a way to mess around with place value in addition that Pam went most of her life not knowing! Listen in as Pam and Kim discuss the importance of learning to manipulate place value as students develop into mathematicians.
Talking Points:
* Introducing the swapping strategy
* What problems fit nicely with the swapping strategy?
* Place labeling vs. Place value
* Send us (@pwharris) your slick swapping strategy solutions to gnarly looking problems!
Transcript: http://podcast.mathisfigureoutable.com/1062400/6371821-ep-22-the-swapping-strategy

Nov 10, 2020

Ep 21:Playing With Percents 2

Pam and Kim are back at it with percents. They discuss the 3 types of percent problems and how they solve them using relations, not with algorithms. Are percents truly figure-out-able? You bet! Grab a pen and paper for this one as we solve some percent problems!
Talking Points
* The three types of percent problems
* The disadvantages of teaching procedural methods to answer percent problems
* Math is fun when it's figure-out-able!

Nov 3, 2020

Ep 20: Playing with percents

Pam and Kim are back at it showing that percents too are figure-out-able. In this episode they solve some percentage problems and share their strategies. Listen in as they go through a percentage problem string!

Oct 27, 2020

Ep 19: Fractions, Decimals, Percents

Pam and Kim explore what it means to be flexible with fractions, decimals, and percents. They discuss how we can become more flexible as we deal with rational numbers, and how we can be judicious problem solvers.
Talking Points
* Why kids of today are more familiar with percentages
* Why flexibility matters
* How to become more flexible using different representations of rational numbers

Oct 20, 2020

Ep 18: This, not that

You might want your magnifying glass for this one, cause this episode we're getting a little nitpicky. Pam and Kim discuss common nomenclature/math-slang that can take the reasoning out of mathematics. They offer useful alternatives and illustrate the importance of clear mathematical language
Talking Points:
* How to add Butt-Cheeks
* Why students try 'canceling' everything
* Why reducing 6/8ths to 3/4s might give me more pie...?
* How one got over x.

Oct 13, 2020

Ep 17: Social vs Logical Knowledge

Math is figure-out-able, but surely there are some parts that are only memorizable, right? In this episode Pam and Kim parse out the difference between social knowledge and logical knowledge. They'll analyze how knowing the difference can affect the types of questions you ask and the role of wait time in teaching.
Talking Points:
* What is the difference between social and logical knowledge?
* What are examples of social knowledge in lower and higher math?
* How should we teach social knowledge?
* How should we teach logical knowledge?

Oct 6, 2020

Ep 16: The Language of Counting

This week's episode is for all you parents and teachers of young children. Pam and Kim discuss ways to make counting figure-out-able! How can we help kids make sense of our number system and master the meaning behind the words we give to numbers? No matter what grade you teach, you're sure to learn something this episode.
Talking Points:
* How different languages name numbers
* How to support young learners to make sense of teens and multi-digit numbers
* Give kids multiple representations of single-digits numbers.
* Pam being creepy at grocery stores
Find the transcript here: http://podcast.mathisfigureoutable.com/1062400/5723239-ep-16-the-language-of-counting

Sep 29, 2020

Ep. 15: Problem Solving with a Twist

Have you ever tried teaching your students the steps to approaching word problems, but your students still struggled? Pam and Kim discuss a better way to help kids tackle math problems. They explain why if you want the best for your students, the acronyms and problem annotation methods of the past simply won't cut it. Help your students live the problem solving process, and not just memorize it.
Talking Points
* The dangers of teaching "Problem Solving Methods"
* How to engage students in mathematics so that problem solving is a natural outcome
* How to run students through numberless word problems
Resources: Brain Bushart's Numberless Word Problems

Sep 22, 2020

Episode 14: Guess my Number

Pam and Kim have some fun this episode as they read out a submission from Aaron Houston about his mathy dad. They talk about the kinds of things parents can do with their kids to have fun mathematizing!
Talking Points
* I Have, You Need
* Kids Menus vs Adult Menus
* the Guess my Number game
* How do you think about finding Prime Numbers?
* Math can be fun!

Sep 15, 2020

Episode 13: The Layers to Mathematics for Teaching

There are so many aspects to teaching, and it gets more complex when we want to discuss teaching math. Pam and Kim define the 5 layers for mathematics teaching. What do math teachers, who want to help their students mathematize, need to focus on?
Talking Points
* Building your own math
* Know the major strategies and models for your content
* Modeling Student Thinking
* Teacher Moves
* Sequencing Tasks
Resources: Journey

Sep 8, 2020

Ep 12: Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Know Your Beliefs

As Pam and Kim wrap up their series on how to start the school year right, they encourage staying true to your beliefs as a math teacher. When making decisions in your classroom, there is power in consistency. They discuss how they approach analyzing and implementing other's ideas into their teaching practice, without giving up on their integrity.
Talking Points:
* One meaning for having integrity in your teaching
* How intentional use of worksheets & resources can illustrate your teaching beliefs
* Determine your system of beliefs
Transcript *HERE*

Sep 1, 2020

Ep 11: Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Building Culture Remotely

Join Pam and Kim in part two of their Top 3 Things to Start the Year series. This week its all about building a classroom culture where students and students' thinking are valued. They'll talk about how to implement tasks remotely that build a community of learners. Pam also throws out some great advice for facilitating lessons and tasks remotely. You won't want to miss it!
Talking Points
* Building classroom culture is so important in remote settings
* When classmates respect each other's thinking, more students are enabled to think like mathematicians.
* Designing interactive remote learning
* How to facilitate Problem Strings remotely
* How to facilitate Rich Tasks remotely
Resources
* How Pam uses her iPad to facilitate Problem Strings remotely: https://www.mathisfigureoutable.com/how
* Transcript

Aug 25, 2020

Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Student Names

As the world prepares for one of the most interesting beginnings to the school year, Pam and Kim are here to help us get it right. They start off this 3 part series by dialing in on the importance of using students names. Find the transcripts HERE.
Talking Points:
* A maternal mathy person
* How Pam learns student names
* Useful tools and tips for using student names in a remote setting
* How to help students use each others names
Resources: Name Tents from Sarah Van Der Werf: https://www.saravanderwerf.com/week-1-day-1-name-tents-with-feedback/

Aug 18, 2020

Strategies and Models

What is the difference between a strategy and a model? Listen as Pam and Kim give clear examples from both elementary and high school content to demonstrate the importance of developing strategy and communicate strategy through models. They provide clear, easy to follow insights so everyone can understand the purpose of models in constructing and communicating strategy.
Talking Points
* Shout-out to Clay! Clay uses powerful additive reasoning when he uses his understanding of place value to add large numbers. Let us know about someone mathy in your life!
* New Problem String videos!
* What is a strategy? What is a model?
* Which is more important, models or strategies?
* Why are models so important in classrooms?
* Can anyone "do" a number line?
*Resources*
Strategies vs Models Article
Strategy vs Models Card Sorts
Transcript

Aug 11, 2020

More Cool Things Mathy People Do

After last weeks discussion on partners of 10, 100, and 100, Pam and Kim thought of three more habits "mathy people" have in common. Listen in as they discuss:
1. What it means for mathematicians to "Notice and Wonder"
2. Double and halving
3. Creating habits of thinking (as opposed to grabbing for a calculator)
Tune in to next week's episode to hear all about Pam's method of categorizing levels of mathematical thinking, what she calls "The Development of Mathematical Reasoning".
Find this episode's transcript *HERE*
Talking Points
* The prime numbers in your neighborhood
* The Wonder Game
* Math-Strat-Chat
* Our first shout-out

Aug 4, 2020

One Thing Mathy People Do

In this episode Pam and Kim share one of their favorite instructional routines: I Have, You Need. They discuss some of the most common patterns that mathmaticians play with, partners of 10, 100, and 1000. These "partners of ___ " patterns pop up everywhere! You'll never guess where they pop up daily for Pam (hint: its when she's the most worked up).
Try out I Have, You Need with your friends, colleagues, and students! A quick way to build anyone's reasoning abilities and to help us all become better mathematicians.
Download the guide to playing I Have, You Need *HERE**
*Find the transcript for this episode *HERE*
Talking Points:
* We can all be "mathy people"
* What Kim thinks when she hears the number 36
* The routine that made the biggest impact on Pam's college students
* Taking ownership of your students' progression
* I Have, You Need resolves the subtracting across zero horror
* How I Have, You Need applies to middle and high school students

Jul 28, 2020

The Development of Mathematical Reasoning part 2: Functional Reasoning

Many people feel that reasoning and numeracy come to an end in highschool. How could we mathematize algebraic concepts? What does it mean, and what does it look like to have functional reasoning? Listen as Pam explains how functional reasoning builds off of proportional reasoning and empowers students to analyze and understand patterns of related value sets. Sounds complicated? Don't worry, Kim does her best to keep Pam on track and grounded.
Talking Points
* How functional reasoning builds on proportional reasoning
* It's not about being able to visualize the graph, it's understanding the relationship between the variables
* How to tell if someone is using functional reasoning

Jul 21, 2020

The Development of Mathematical Reasoning

This episode is so important! Pam and Kim describe the Development of Mathematical Reasoning, and how it transforms our understanding of what it means to learn and teach mathematics. They discuss how freeing it feels to know that everyone can develop their reasoning, and how the Development of Mathematical Reasoning empowers teachers to know how best to help their students.
To help you determine where you and your students are in the Development of Mathematical Reasoning, here's a free download! Use the *How Do You Reason* guide to know how you, your friends, and students are reasoning.
They also announce the new Development of Mathematical Reasoning Workshop! *A new free online workshop.** *So exciting! Be sure to tell all your colleagues about this amazing opportunity to learn how to help anyone develop reasoning.
Talking Points
* What the Development of Mathematical Reasoning looks like
* We don't need calculators, we need reasoners
* One way people get stuck in counting s…

Jul 14, 2020

Top Ten Influencers

Who's shaping math education today? Does Pam come up with it all herself? Far from it! In her fourth episode Pam wanted to pay homage to her top 10 influencers as well as share with you all some of her favorite resources for teaching real math. Join her and Kim as they share stories ranging from the excitement of the first graphing calculators to the embarrassment of mispronouncing their hero's name. It's sure to be a good time.
Talking Points
* Who were Pam's early influencers?
* How teacher moves transform Rich Tasks
* Who is shaping math education today?
* Fos-dos and Fos-nots
* Desmos' card sorts and polygraphs: excellent tools for remote teaching.

Jul 7, 2020

Mentoring Mathematicians

Pam and Kim continue from Episode 2 to discuss what it means to do and teach real mathematics. When we teach reading, students read. When we teach writing, students write. When we teach math, students mathematize, because we need a verb that describes what mathematicians do when they do what mathematicians do. And when we teach students to do what mathematicians do, they are mathematicians. So teachers are mentoring mathematicians.
Talking Points
* What Pam means when she says Math is Figure-Out-Able
* Mathematicians do not mimic to do math, they use their understanding of mathematical relationships
* What does it mean to mentor students to become mathematicians at their gradelevel?
Find the transcript here:
http://podcast.mathisfigureoutable.com/1062400/3887888-mentoring-mathematicians

Jun 30, 2020

Math Does Not Equal Algorithms!

What do you think math is, a disconnected set of facts to memorize and rules, procedures to mimic or is it something else entirely? In this episode, Pam and Kim talk about discuss that real math teaching is about listening to students - that you must know your content, and know your kids. Also that math is not about mimicking an algorithm, but rather math is about letting the numbers and the structure dictate the strategy. How would you answer the question, "What is 99 plus anything?" or "What is 99 times anything?" How can you use relationships to solve those problems?
Talking Points:
* What are Algorithms? Why are they not Pam's goal?
* How mathematicians approach problem solving
* What is 99 + anything?
Find the transcript here: http://podcast.mathisfigureoutable.com/1062400/3887876-math-does-not-equal-algorithms

Jun 16, 2020

Math is Figureoutable

In this debut podcast, mathematics teacher educator, Pam Harris talks with her cohost, Kim Montague, about how they met and the work that they do together now. They set the stage that in this podcast they will talk about real mathematics and about how to teach mathematics. They answer the question, "If not algorithms, then what?"
As Pam and Kim describe their relationship they touch on these principles:
* It is fun to teach math that is figureoutable
* People have had different experiences with math, but everyone can learn to mathematize
* They define what it means to mathematize
* The difference between Real Snacks and Fake Snacks
* Reasoning can be refined and there are strategies which are more elegant than others
* Professional Development should be uplifting and empowering
* This podcast is for everybody!
Find the transcript here: http://podcast.mathisfigureoutable.com/1062400/3614602-math-is-figureoutable

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