A student approached me with an interest in Fibonacci numbers. She was clearly interested in the concept and was eager to share this new information with her classmates. We discussed the material and after assessing she had a firm grasp of the information, I suggested that the following day she teach a lesson to the class explaining Fibonacci numbers. We talked about a structure for her lesson and what she would need to do to prepare. It was clear she was excited, and I knew this would be a valuable learning opportunity for all. After all, in order to teach something effectively, one must have a firm understanding of the material, and feel comfortable explaining it to others. What better way to extend one's knowledge than by having the opportunity to teach?
The next day the student arrived eager and ready. She wrote out the classroom morning message, outlining what would happen in math that day. She had even prepared hand-outs for the class as an extension to her lesson. As she began her lesson, her classmates listened attentively, asking questions and offering comments when appropriate. When it was time for them to complete the classwork, she circulated around the room, offering help and encouragement to her peers. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge that was gained from this experience. Beyond the mastery of the mathematical material, this type of activity can instill confidence and a level of engagement that comes with pursuing a genuine interest. The other students clearly benefited as well - watching a peer stand up in front of the class and direct a lesson was fascinating, engaging, and inspiring. After the lesson, we discussed the experience and I encouraged everyone to find an exciting mathematical concept or area of interest to present to the class. There were lots of ideas generated, and I'm hopeful that others will be inspired to follow suit.
|Fibonacci numbers are circled|
|the prepared hand-out|
|the proud teacher|
|fully engaged students|
|completed work, corrected by the teacher!|
While it’s unlikely that you have ever heard a person say, “that worksheet changed my life,” most people have an assignment from their childhood that they remember with pride because it was meaningful to them. More often than not, that memorable assignment was one that allowed them to express themselves and follow their passions. It's been a joy to watch the second graders find these passions and pursue them. Other passion projects in the works: a math newspaper, origami tutorial, game making 101, prime numbers, and multiplication charts!