Math-Magical Ropes

Last spring in elementary school, we had “Dress Like A Teacher Day.” Several of the girls showed up dressed like me–the long skirt, the glasses, and the cardigan sweater.   These girls had the ensemble down: I’d actually be delighted to wear some of those outfits!  But the accessories my elementary math students sported were befuddling — short pieces of rope they called “math-magical ropes.”

Why ropes?  I had no idea why the kids were carrying ropes!

At last someone told me the answer:  Apparently one day in class, I was explaining a math concept.  But the children were not listening.  Instead, they were gazing at a crane with a dangling, rope-like cable operating just outside the classroom window.  When I followed their eyes and saw the apparatus, I exclaimed, “Wow!  There’s a math-magical rope!”

That was it.

The students may have forgotten that day’s lesson, but they sure remembered the math-magical rope.  Students have an astonishing capacity to carry around words that their teachers forget.

It’s helpless.  We teachers may never be able to math-magically reverse the number of forgotten words.  But we can definitely try to choose the ones that are light and easy to carry.

 

 

 

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