We are delighted to announce that Derek Stolp, Inly Middle School Math Teacher, has launched his very own web site of algebra lessons that are rooted in direct experience. Over the course of his many teaching years at Milton Academy and Inly School, he has written his own middle school math curriculum. Now, he offers it to the world at www.algebra1models.org.
When asked why he built this site, Derek had this to say:
“In my book, Mathematics Miseducation: The Case Against a Tired Tradition, I made the case that the traditional program in teaching mathematics is fundamentally flawed—hence the title.
More specifically, pre-algebra and algebra textbooks are ordinarily structured with a Symbol-Precedence Model in mind, making the assumption that solving symbolic problems is easier than solving verbal problems, placing abstractions before their concrete foundations.
Over the past 15 years or so, I have been developing materials that, to the greatest degree possible, begin with concrete experiences—some from our children’s recollections of their activities in daily life outside the classroom and others from their activities within the classroom—and end with mathematical abstractions.
Because there are few, if any, textbooks in elementary algebra constructed according to this principle, I wanted to make these lessons available to any teachers who, perhaps sharing my perspective, might find them useful.”
In reference to your statement about solving symbolic problems versus verbal problems, I agree. Can you believe it? Actually, I still remember how lazy I was in high school algebra. I was too impatient to even work through memorization of algebraic rules. When I took my Regents final it was in 2 parts:
Pt 1. Equation solution.
Pt 2. Verbal problem statements.
I bombed Pt 1 but aced Pt 2.
Anyway, it appears as though you found a good niche teaching kids who have the capacity and probably the desire to learn. congratulations!
Like the picture above. Grey beard and hair suit you well.
Say hi to Judi and Josh, etal.
I’m a fan though I teach English in California. I just attended the Association of Constructivist Teaching Conference in Chicago last weekend and I took every opportunity to plug your book (which, alas, no one had ever heard of). To me *Math Miseducation* is the best expression of constructivist teaching I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot). Last year I typed up a copy of your basic principles and pasted them on my desk for ready reference. Then I progressed to writing my own principles which incorporated much of what you wrote. Thank you for the inspiration.
Jerry Heverly, 9th grade English teacher at San Leandro HS, in San Leandro, California