Christopher Danielson, recounting an imagination exercise with his son:
Me: Now … the strange thing about this elephant parade is that each elephant is a bit smaller than the one in front of it, and each one has an additional leg.
Griffin: How many legs does the last one have?
Let’s pause for a moment. This was his question, not mine. Real world be damned, this is a habit of mind thing.
Jimmy Pai, on students who dislike applied math problems:
Have I been focusing too much on applying mathematics and expanding the concept of “relevance?” Have I been expending too much energy on looking for relevance when I should play off of the interesting and awesome world that is mathematics? I had one student who became more disengaged throughout the year as everyone else was loving the relevance and exploring their own questions.
These are important posts. They remind me that it’s a flawed theory of student engagement that leads you to draw two circles, one labeled “real” and the other “fake,” and put material into either one with any kind of objective confidence.
Seven-legged elephants are real to Griffin. Numbers are real to Jimmy Pai’s student. Star Wars isn’t real, but for millions of viewers, it feels real. The techniques of storytelling can make the unreal seem real, but let’s all agree to bear in mind that what’s real to one student isn’t necessarily real to another.
My favorite quote [from this article] is “the quality of a task need not be judged by its relation to real life but in relation to how it engages students’”