In Spring 2005, EdNext published an article by Barry Garelick, a mathematician who was surprised to discover the bizarre way math was being taught to his daughter and other students he was tutoring. The article, “An A-Maze-ing Approach to Math,” follows Barry on his quest to make sense of discovery learning and the forces behind it. (The article has consistently been one of the most popular articles on the EdNext website, and Barry followed it up with an article about a very different approach to math instruction, Singapore Math.)
There has been a lot of discussion of this article in the comments section on our website recently. Several readers have weighed in with their own stories of math failures traced to discovery math. There has also been a lively debate about how widespread the practice of discovery math is. Readers—have you encountered discovery math in your own life?