This is the third lesson in Jo Boaler’s “How to Learn Math (for Students)”.

Our brains grow in response to stimulus, and mistakes are stimulating!  When we get an answer correct, there is not the struggle needed for brain growth. So it is important to try difficult problems and make mistakes in order to build a strong brain.

As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

The more mistakes we make, the more successful we are.  So how do get this mistake-making experience?  By trying different things, being okay with being wrongs, and by not judging ourselves or our ideas.

As we move in to Common Core, students may be frustrated by the open-ended nature of the problems they will begin to encounter.  It is important to keep a growth mindset and be determined to struggle on, knowing that mistakes actually aid the learning process.

Fast math isn’t always good math.  Math requires deep thought, and deep thought takes time.  What is essential is making connections and asking (and answering!) questions such as why things work the way they do.

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