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We’re Elevated Achievement, a group of educators dedicated to helping schools, teachers, parents, and caregivers, and you, the students. We exist because we believe that each and every person deserves to own their learning each and every day and in each and every lesson.
We have seen all types of students, like you, take ownership of their learning. These students are not merely passengers in their education but the drivers. Taking ownership empowers you to be successful not just in the physical classroom, but in the real world too.
That’s why this article is focused on owning your learning in mathematics. Think about the things you do every day.
- How often do you have to think about what time it is and determine how long something will take?
- How often do you have to think about how much something costs and how much money you have to spend?
- How often do you have to measure and/or estimate the size of something?
- How often do you have to count, add, subtract, multiply, or divide something?
- How often do you have to figure out how to solve a problem or issue?
- How often do you have to make a plan and not give up?
Math is part of our everyday lives. And, understanding not just how to solve math problems in class, but how to use math in the real world is what makes you successful. That’s why it’s important you take ownership of your learning in math.
Are you ready to take ownership of your learning in math? Let’s start by diving into why it matters.
Why Owning Your Learning in Math Matters
We live in a global society where you will need to know how to do more in math than your parents did if you want to be successful in college and/or your career. A wise mathematician named William Thurston said,
“Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.”
In other words, math is much more than just solving the problems and checking to see if the answer is correct. It also involves your understanding of what you are learning, how you are learning it, and what you have learned about your mathematical thinking along the way. The more you are able to understand about your own learning process and talk about it, the easier it will be for you to solve any math problem in class and in life.
How to Own Your Learning in Math
As we just said owning your mathematics involves understanding what you are learning about your mathematical thinking along the way. This is called metacognition—learning about your learning. When you develop ownership of your mathematical thinking, it means you can do these 8 things.
This takes practice, but it can be done by using these 3 routines.
- First, ask yourself these questions and answer them before you begin a math assignment.
- What am I learning?
- How will I know I have learned it?
- Why will solving these math problems help me learn?
- Second, for each math problem, read the problem and answer these questions.
- What is the problem asking me to do?
- What is my plan to solve the problem?
- How will I know I have solved it correctly?
- Third, after you solve each problem, answer these questions.
- What mathematical evidence supports my solution?
- What strategy did I use to solve the problem? Why did I select that strategy?
- What other strategies could I have used?
As you do this…
- Share your thinking with classmates. Find out how they are thinking about mathematics.
- Share your thinking with your parents or caregivers. Find out how they think about mathematics.
- Share your thinking with your teacher and ask for their feedback.
If you follow these routines, you will be developing your metacognition in math. You will be thinking and speaking like a mathematician. You will be owning your learning in math.
Elevated Achievement is here to help you.
We have downloadable Resources for Students to support you as you increase ownership of your learning in math and elevate your achievement. Check them out. Share them with your friends.
ONE LAST THING: Keep practicing. Thinking and speaking like a mathematician takes time, but owning your learning is worth it. Don’t give up.
The Learning Brief
In this article students learned…
- Why owning their learning in mathematics matters.
- How to think and speak like a mathematician.
- What their role is in owning their learning in mathematics.
Can you imagine building an environment full of motivated, engaged, and eager students who own their learning?