Students are teamed in groups of three randomly, so students work with anyone, not just with their friends. Working in their triad, they have to collaborate and share their thinking. When someone doesn’t understand the math problem, they’re getting more comfortable asking how another student solved it. And they are becoming more empathetic towards their peers as they try to help each other out. Which is very different, and creates more engaged learning, than if students just sit at their desk working on math problems. Because they are working on vertical wall spaces around the room, it’s easier for them to observe how other students are approaching and solving problems, which nurtures more collaboration.
This approach was inspired by the work of Dr. Peter Liljedahl, a former high school math teacher who researches more effective teaching and learning processes.
The teachers love this approach and the results are readily apparent. The kids adapted quickly, they’re engaged, they’re learning, and they’re talking about math with greater interest.
Jeremy Voss, Escalante Middle School Principal, says “Ms. Rose, Ms. Von Ohlen, Mr. Hyder, Ms. Regan, Ms. Perry, and Ms. North all worked together brilliantly to share ideas that launched our students' math learning with innovation and fun. The teachers’ collaboration inspired our students to demonstrate empathetic collaboration in school.”