“We want to fix math education in the United States,” said ST Math creator Matthew Peterson in his keynote presentation at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Washington, D.C.
And the fix isn’t about making math easier. Or more fun. It’s about making math more challenging.
According to Peterson: “You want to make math tantalizingly tricky. Periodically, you want the puzzle to get really hard so students struggle with it. They get frustrated and they want to give up, but it’s an interesting problem, so they stick with it. Eventually they figure it out on their own, without a teacher telling them how to do it — and it feels awesome. This builds persistence and a thirst for challenge.”
Peterson, co-founder, COO and senior scientist of MIND Research Institute, delivered his “STEM Spotlight” as part of the April 24 conference keynote session. Fellow speakers included co-founder and CEO of Code.org, Hadi Partovi; executive director of Girlstart, Tamara Hudgins; and owner of Ten80 Education, Terri Stripling.
“If we can stop telling kids how math works, let them learn by doing, put really interesting but challenging problems in front of them … we can build a solid foundation in math,” Peterson said. “And if you fix math, you fix all of education.”
Check out what others had to say about Peterson’s #STEMSolve presentation via our Storify:
About the Author
Abby Daniels was Director of Communications at MIND Research Institute, where she worked for over 10 years as the organization transformed from a small, local nonprofit to a national leader in education.