kitchen table math, the sequel: 1/24/10 - 1/31/10

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

what is skill?

Skill is a level of performance in any given task that can be acquired only through practise. Indeed, one can consider any skilled professional as a person who has had the motivation to practise one thing far more (for approximately 10,000 hours extended over more than 10 years20) than most people could endure (BOXES 2,3). Across a wide range of tasks, the relationship between one measure of skill, the speed of task completion and the number of practise trials is well approximated by a power law21 (FIG. 1). This implies that performance continues to improve with task-relevant practise indefinitely, although the rate of improvement declines over time. Of course, most of the relevant data comes from tasks learnt for short periods of time in the laboratory. However, it is worth highlighting one classic study that reported performance of an industrial cigar rolling task22. The study included workers who had produced in excess of ten million cigars over seven years of work and they were still getting faster!

Inside the brain of an elite athlete: the neural processes that support high achievement in sports
Kielan Yarrow, Peter Brown and John W. Krakauer §
Nature Reviews Neuroscience Volume 10 | AugusT 2009
p. 587

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project M3 Mentoring Mathematical Minds

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this gifted math program:
Project M3
From the Overview:
* 12 units of mathematics for talented students in grades 3, 4, and 5
* 4 units per grade level: Number, Algebraic Reasoning, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability based on NCTM content Standards
* Emphasis on mathematical discourse within the classroom
* Emphasis on problem solving and spirit of inquiry
* Differentiation of selected units for use with all students in years 4 and 5
* All materials to implement the curriculum will be provided including manipulatives and supplemental resources

I'm unfamiliar with it and am working with a school that is considering Singapore Math along with this Project M3 or MathLand. I don't believe MathLand is in print anymore, so I'm not sure where the school found textbooks to review. I seem to recall it was a highly constructivist program approved, then rejected in California.

What Works Clearinghouse on CMP

CMP was found to have no discernible effects on math achievement.
Improvement index- 0 percentile points (average)

Read the full WWC report here.