Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Art of Your Question...who, what, when, where, why, how..?

"In mathematics, the art of asking questions is more valuable than solving problems." -Georg Cantor

Remember when your children first learned the word "why"? Remember how they would ask questions like:

"Why is the sky blue?"

"Why does my finger bend?"

"Why do i have to go to bed now?"

These are make-you-think questions! Trying to answer these questions can lead to interesting conversations, but can also be frustrating and lead to "Because I said so", or "Because it just is" answers.

Questions are powerful and can evoke a myriad of emotions, a plethora of information and a deeper understanding when posed to the right way.

Parents and teachers-we invite you to start asking "Why?"

Good, make-them-think questions can be used effectively by parents to reinforce the understanding of concepts learned in school, but provoking learning not to ascertain what has already been learned.

Ask your child to:

explain the reasoning behind the solution of a problem,
explain the strategy used to solve a problem,
justify answers and/or choices,
explain what the answer means in a particular context,
predict what will happen next,
recognize and understand questions stated in a novel form, or
state a question or invent a problem for which the answer is given.

Asking questions that lead students to understand must start with their current understanding and provoke them to think forward. These are valuable instructional tools that textbooks are not designed to provide. You can ask questions while you are in the car, cooking dinner, walking to the park, and while helping with homework.

Ask away and watch your children become mathematical thinkers!

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