David Cox had a brilliant response when his students told himthat the assignment was easy since they just use the DRT triangle.First, he asked them what it was and how it worked. Then, hetold them that he had learned the TRD triangle. The studentsresponded with conﬂicting statements.S
: “No, that won’t work. That’s not what he told us.”S
: “He said it didn’t matter how we wrote it.”Mr. Cox: ”So which is it; does one work or are they the same?Make your case and be ready to defend it.”To decide if the new triangle worked (and the old one for thatmatter!) the students tried some examples that they understoodwithout needing the triangle. They generated their own problems,drew conclusions and formed an argument. Any day where studentsuse something they understand to reason about something new isa great day for mathematics.Find the complete story on David’s blog: http://coxmath.blogspot.com/2014/04/dirty-triangles.html“Will my middle schoolers/high schoolers/college students really buy into this after learningmath with tricks for so long?”Yes! Some of my hgih school students are still curious enough to ask my why somethingworks that they were told to take on faith. Other students exclaim, “Ooohh! That’s whywe do that.” when I show them something in a new way. I truly believe that every stu-dent would rather understand then memorize a list of steps, but some students are resistantbecause they fear that they are not smart enough to do math. Don’t take my word for itthough, other people are seeing success using Nix the Tricks:Middle School Teacher Justin Aionhttp://relearningtoteach.blogspot.com/2014/04/day-143-pointed-questions-and-jelly.htmlAfter we completed the 8 word problems, I asked a simple question:Me: “What did I not see in any of these problems? What tactic was not used?”S: “Cross-multiplication.”Me: “Did anyone even think to use it?”S: **silence**YES!!! One trick nixed!