To Focus on Student Mistakes, Or To Not Focus On Student Mistakes

To Focus on Student Mistakes, Or To Not Focus On Student Mistakes. That is the question... Just playing on Shakespeare lingo, but seriously should we? I think so because focusing on student math mistakes is like life. Mistakes are an important part of life. I say this because when you make a mistake during your growing up stages which I believe we are constantly growing it is bound to happen be it in your relationship, parenting, job, etc.  You should learn from your mistakes so you never make the same mistake twice. I figure why not apply this real life lesson to Math or any subject for that matter. My student's can't become better if they don't know what their doing wrong and make the necessary changes. I encourage my students to do their very best and to always put their best foot forward but at the same time if they make a mistake its ok. Making mistakes is human nature. It is apart of growing. How can you learn if you never admit to making a mistake?  I stumbled upon the following websites that focuses entirely on student mistakes. As a warm-up excercise, you can show some of these mistakes to your students so they can analyze and discuss the mathematical errors that students made:

Excellent Articles On Embracing Student Mistakes:

The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom

Why Are Mistakes Wonderful

Classic Mistakes Posters- Post around your room and have students find the mistake in each poster:

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Figure This Challenge #56

  • Complete Solution will be given on May 17, 2015

Complete Solution:



Created by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015 at 1:56pm. Last updated by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015.

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Fun Math Facts:

Math Limerick

Question: Why is this a mathematical limerick?

( (12 + 144 + 20 + 3 Sqrt[4]) / 7 ) + 5*11 = 92 + 0 .


A dozen, a gross, and a score,
plus three times the square root of four, divided by seven, plus five times eleven, is nine squared and not a bit more.

---Jon Saxton (math textbook author)

Presentation Suggestions:
Challenge students to invent their own math limerick!

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is fun to mix mathematics with poetry.


Su, Francis E., et al. "Math Limerick." Math Fun Facts.


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