What is the aMAZEing Algebra Maze? The assumption is that you are trying to learn Algebra 1 and you are already in the Maze, I am going to try to show you the way out. Warning - it's going to kind of look like a test, but there are some intentional, important differences.
First of all, there's no grade. The Maze is not here to determine what you know, it exists to teach you what you don't know. So, if you answer a question correctly - great! If you answer it incorrectly, the maze immediately takes you to a page that explains what went wrong. It then asks you another, similar question to get you back on track.
I teach high school Algebra, I once told my students that today's exercise is not for a grade. Several responded - "Then what's the point?". Our focus is totally out of whack. Students are trying to get good grades and we're hoping that will lead to knowledge. We should be dispensing knowledge and that should result in good grades. It may look like a minor distinction, but it's not.
To start the Maze - click here (actually, there are a multitude of things to click on in order to enter the Maze)
There's a lot written about how we learn. Most of it seems to point out that it is usually not closely tied to how we teach - but it should be. There are some terrific teachers out their. It is my belief that the problem is not with the teachers. A couple of good books are "Make it Stick" by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel and "Inevitable" by Schwahn and McGarvey. I apologize for reducing both books to a couple of sentences - you should really read the books as they are packed with great information.
"Make it Stick" points out what several studies support. Long term learning occurs when students have to retrieve information from their memory in a variety of situations. It does not occur through repetition.. Repetition helps with short term memory. Great for taking tests - lousy for actually retaining knowledge.
"Inevitable" talks about "Mass Customized Learning". They are opposed to everyone who is x number of years of age will need to learn this list of stuff and everyone who is x+1 years of age has to learn this other list of stuff. We are continually trying to make everyone know the exact same things while we stamp out what is unique and special about them.
We have computers!!! We can do some really amazing things. Why not start doing some of them?
Anyway - the aMAZEing Algebra Maze could be so much better! It is a crude reflection of my poor programming abilities. And even with all of it's flaws, in some respects, it's better than it's competition. And I hope to improve it as time goes by.
What competition? Well, there's plenty - and they are extremely good at what they do. One of my favorites is Khan Academy, if you haven't checked it out - you should.
This Maze is created in such a way as to make it impossible to cheat! It is impossible to break the rules when there are no rules to break. Have fun, and do whatever you think will help you learn the material.
To enter click on The aMAZEing Algebra Maze!