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Putnam County R-I Schools

Middle School


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To Show Work or Not To Show Work....That is the Question.

In Math class, the students are required to show their work most of the time.  The teachers try to emphasize how important it is to get the process right; not just to get the right answer.  I hear many students complaining about having to show their work and when asked to explain how they got their answer they state something like, “Well I just knew it”, or “Because the calculator told me.”  I have tried many different approaches trying to explain to them that just getting the right answer isn’t what Math homework is all about.  I tried giving the students real-life examples to help them understand.  



#1:  Can I hand in a piece of paper with $5,000 written on it to my boss for my annual budget and expect it to be paid without him knowing what I’m going to spend that money on?  No, I have to show him what I am going to spend that money on.  I have to show my “work”.


#2:  I was nominated for “Gardner of the Month”.  I worked really hard on pulling all of the weeds out of my plants and trimming the bushes to make them more attractive.  I didn’t win the prize for the best garden but I did receive a gift card for the most improved garden.  Even though I didn’t win the big prize I was still recognized for the work I had completed.  

I think, in the end, if a teacher models his/her expectations and gives the students a real-world connection they will do what is asked of them.