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Embracing Error in Math Class: The Power of Wrongness

Session 5
Brad Latimer, Erin Giorgio, Pam Chrissis, Helen Huang-Hobbs, Swetha Narasimhan — Science Leadership Academy, University of Pennsylvania

Math can be a polarizing subject for students. By the time they reach middle and high school courses, many students, particularly students of marginalized populations, have decided that they “just aren’t good at math”. Shifting the emphasis from product to process and exploring the value of wrongness in the classroom can encourage students to bring their existing understandings into the classroom to provide a richer experience for all students. We see this shift in mindset as crucial to any math classroom, and we bring perspectives from SLA and Masterman to explore this concept.This conversation will focus on the learning processes of student teachers and their mentor teachers, utilizing projects to emphasize both process and final product, and being able to adjust the trajectory of curricula based on the varying comprehensions that students bring into the classroom.

Conversational Practice

Both student teachers and high school students will discuss how emphasis is shifted from product to process and the value of wrongdoing can encourage students to bring their existing understandings to provide a richer experience for all students. The majority of the of the session will focus on brainstorming and developing lessons/activities that emphasize both process and product for a range of math courses.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

Swetha Narasimhan
Swetha Narasimhan
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education; Science Leadership Academy
Pamela Chrissis
Pamela Chrissis
University of Pennsylvania GSE; Science Leadership Academy
Helen Huang-Hobbs
Helen Huang-Hobbs
University of Pennsylvania, JR Masterman High School,


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