My Teaching Philosophy

scienceThe fundamental principle that guides us in our family is answering “Why?” and that is precisely my focus in writing this Algebra textbook. Children ask “Why?” so very many times each day, and sometimes when you as a parent and educator try for a cogent response you find yourself without a good answer as you look into that wonderful little face staring expectantly up at you.

Doodles Do Algebra is designed specifically to help you answer the “But, why?” question for your kids. My children run circles around me every day with questions and ideas and I want to share my math techniques and tools with you.

“But, why?”

And back to the drawing-board I go yet again.

Yesterday was for the most part a day of mommy-learning. I was teaching my kids how to expand certain algebraic fractions in to their infinite series, a process which requires long division of polynomials. As I began describing the process to them yesterday over lunch, I realized that the first time we passed through long division of polynomials my kids understood the mechanics, or the “how”, but not the “why”. And so my daughter told me over the dining table that I could explain the “how” until I was blue in the face but that neither she nor her brother would ever remember how to do this type of algebraic math unless I could explain the “why.”

 I sat back and asking what they meant, watched as they both picked up bits of chalk and began drawing on our chalk board. My daughter began talking about Vi Hart and how well she described infinite series and elephants and drew pictures that she remembered having seen. My son agreed with her and piped up with an added endorsement of Murderous Maths’ description and drew a picture of a spiral based on 1×2 rectangles.

Then came the twin discussion between them about the downsides of the various math curricula and why the “why” was so important.