This graphic of a Koch Snowflake (thanks wikipedia) in some ways describes what has happened to me at Twitter Math Camp (#TMC14). I started out with just a few questions, but then those questions multiplied, and the new questions multiplied, and so on, until they all started to blur together. Similarly, Koch’s Snowflake starts simple, but then each replication makes the image more complex, until it finally brings you to that snowflakey image that everyone recognizes.
In my questions, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. I wonder, do I need to let them replicate more, before I find that big question toward which they are building? I think I at least have a feel for where they are going. I started with questions about how to help struggling students, how to reach disengaged students, how to teach multiple levels in one class, how to use project based learning to get there, how to use standards based grading to report on that learning; unh, I’m out of breath. But in my mind I can almost see the convergence point, the place where all these questions merge into one big question. I can’t quite see the shape of it, but I know it’s there.
It is something to do with teaching multiple levels in essentially the same lesson. So that kids in basic math, pre-algebra, algebra I and algebra 2 are all interacting with the same lesson at the same time, but from a perspective that fits with their level of learning. The concept of multiple entry points resonate with this question, as do the multitude of rich problem based resources from the digital math community. So for now, it seems my snowflake is this: how do I make this structure happen?