wrong answers

Having never held authorities in high regard, the whole school thing with “one right answer”, and worse – only the correct procedure to get to that answer has been a challenge. So the idea of interesting wrong answers has always had great appeal. I understand that when you are trying to get 25 sixth graders to “solve” the math problems on the state’s high stakes test, you get to that point any way you can. If it works well enough, don’t spend any extra time or energy dealing with any of the other perfectly valid ways to get the “right” answer. Just do it this way. It works.

Getting to talk about interesting wrong answers is very liberating. It isn’t for everyone. It is usually messy and confusing with seeming contradictions. It may introduce concepts that are beyond the scope of the current simplified model. How much is enough to get the general idea across without going down a rat hole and losing those who “got it”? This is the art of teaching and facilitating learning.

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