This year the Math Team challenged all upper school students by asking them to engage with the same problem on the very first day of school. This was a unique and interesting problem as it provided students with multiple entry points to approach learning math on their own terms. We, at Bosque School, believe that all students are great at math, but students feel ready for math at their own pace and time. Because all math students explored the same problem, it allowed us to evaluate student learning styles across ages, grades, and ability levels.
Our purpose is to teach students to persevere because interesting math problems are not solved in only one or two minutes. We found parallels in student learning from 9th grade to 12th grade. For example, by valuing questions and processes over simply finding a solution, students in Precalculus and Calculus were able to dig into the algebraic components and manipulation of this problem, while younger students focused on question-making and employing different strategies to unlock the problem. Furthermore, students are learning important life skills such as collaborating with their classmates, actively valuing others’ viewpoints, and participating in their own learning. We were thrilled to witness student engagement that created curiosity, a critical characteristic for any lifelong learner.