Math is Figure-Out-Able!

Ep 201: Clearing Up Misconceptions

April 23, 2024 Pam Harris Episode 201
Ep 201: Clearing Up Misconceptions
Math is Figure-Out-Able!
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Math is Figure-Out-Able!
Ep 201: Clearing Up Misconceptions
Apr 23, 2024 Episode 201
Pam Harris

Got questions about the Math Is Figureoutable movement? In this lightning round episode, Pam and Kim answer questions and address misconceptions they've heard people have.
Talking Points:
Is it only about Problem Strings?

  • Does math-ing have be done in all in your head?
  • Is "one and done" desirable?
  • Are we doing "Pam Harris Math"?
  • Are algorithms bad?
  • Is Math is Figuroutable appropriate for all grades K-12?
  • Is Math is Figuroutable only numeracy?

Check out our social media
Twitter: @PWHarris
Instagram: Pam Harris_math
Facebook: Pam Harris, author, mathematics education
Linkedin: Pam Harris Consulting LLC 

Show Notes Transcript

Got questions about the Math Is Figureoutable movement? In this lightning round episode, Pam and Kim answer questions and address misconceptions they've heard people have.
Talking Points:
Is it only about Problem Strings?

  • Does math-ing have be done in all in your head?
  • Is "one and done" desirable?
  • Are we doing "Pam Harris Math"?
  • Are algorithms bad?
  • Is Math is Figuroutable appropriate for all grades K-12?
  • Is Math is Figuroutable only numeracy?

Check out our social media
Twitter: @PWHarris
Instagram: Pam Harris_math
Facebook: Pam Harris, author, mathematics education
Linkedin: Pam Harris Consulting LLC 

Pam  00:01

Hey, fellow mathers! Welcome to the podcast where Math is Figure-Out-Able! I'm Pam Harris, a former mimicker turned mather.


Kim  00:10

And I'm Kim Montague, a reasoner, who now knows how to share her thinking with others. At Math is Figure-Out-Able, we are on a mission to improve math teaching.


Pam  00:18

We know that algorithms are amazing historic achievements, but they are terrible teaching tools because mimicking step-by-step procedures can actually trap students into using less sophisticated reasoning than the problems are intended to develop. 


Kim  00:33

In this podcast, we help you teach mathing, building relationships with your students, and grappling with mathematical relationships.


Pam  00:40

We invite you to join us to make math more figure-out-able.


Kim  00:46

So, I'm going to tell you, I'm already distracted. I have to pay more attention with this episode title or intro.


Pam  00:53



Kim  00:54

And I have to tell you.


Pam  00:55



Kim  00:55



Pam  00:56

You don't like our new intro? 


Kim  00:57

No, it's fantastic. But I was trying to get a timer up on my phone, and I was like, "Oh, pay attention."


Pam  01:05

Well, that's because usually I did the whole intro.


Kim  01:07



Pam  01:07

And now we're back and forthing it.


Kim  01:08

Yeah, I said, "I'm Kim."


Pam  01:10

Now, that it's more fair, the distributions a little bit fairer, you have to actually pay attention during the beginning. You can do it, Kim. You could do it. I have faith in you. I have faith.


Kim  01:21

I don't even have attention difficulties. 


Pam  01:23

You can...


Kim  01:25

Not really, but.


Pam  01:26

You're just distracted. 


Kim  01:27

Okay. Well, anyway, the reason that I...


Pam  01:29

Oh, today's going to be fun, yeah?


Kim  01:30

I know. Well. Yeah. So, today, listeners. There are times where we hear out in the world from other people or maybe from... You know we have a membership implementation support. And sometimes we hear from those Journey members, "Hey, what about this?" And so, today, we thought that we would clear up some misconceptions about Pam, about the Math is Figure-Out-Able movement. And the way that we're going to do that. Because these are important things to us. We've each picked a couple. And, you know, we could talk for a while. Some of us more than others. And so...


Pam  01:31

Okay.  Hey, now, now. 


Kim  02:13

What's another way to say long-winded. That sounds terrible. (unclear) 


Pam  02:16

This is a great day today. Did you wake up on the right side of the? Wow. Man.


Kim  02:21

You have so much to share. Lots of sharing (unclear).


Pam  02:25

That's a way to say long-winded. Yeah. Mmhm. Yeah. Yeah. (unclear).


Kim  02:28

Okay, so here's how it's going to go. You picked a couple of things. 


Pam  02:31



Kim  02:31

That you've heard. And I picked a couple of things. But we don't know what the things are. And so, I'm going to tell you a topic or a misconception, and you get three minutes to say whatever you want to say about the thing. And then, I...


Pam  02:45

You think I can say something in three minutes?


Kim  02:48

I'm hoping. 


Pam  02:49

Alright, alright.


Kim  02:50

And so, what I'm going to do is set a timer, and when the timer goes off, like mid-sentence, you have to stop.


Pam  02:56

Fine. Mid-sentence. Fine. I can do. it. 


Kim  02:59

Three minutes is enough time, I think, to give a general. So, don't get in the weeds.


Pam  03:04

Alright, alright, alright. Be focused. I'll be focused (unclear).


Kim  03:06

When I have a whole lot of time left, we'll talk at the end about maybe wrapping back into something.


Pam  03:11

Kim, I am on the balls my feet. My knees are bent.


Kim  03:16

True sport fashion.


Pam  03:18

True. Yep. I get my hands up in defensive position.


Kim  03:22

Okay. Alright, you ready?


Pam  03:24

Am I starting? Or you're starting?


Kim  03:26

I'm going to go first. 


Pam  03:27



Kim  03:28

Meaning I'm going to give you a topic. 


Pam  03:29

Okay. (unclear).


Kim  03:30

And I'm going to set my timer, and then. 


Pam  03:32

Alright, I can do it. 


Kim  03:33

Do you want like a 10 second warning?


Pam  03:36



Kim  03:37

Okay. Just.


Pam  03:37

No, I'm just going to see how my three minute internal timer is. 


Kim  03:40

Oh, okay. 


Pam  03:41

It will be fantastic. 


Kim  03:42

Okay, are you ready? 


Pam  03:44

Yes. Okay. 


Kim  03:45

Okay. The first misconception is that you are only about Problem Strings. 


Pam  03:52

Okay. I mean, I am kind of a lot about Problem Strings, but you are correct...


Kim  03:56

No, wait.


Pam  03:57

Holy cow! Was that three seconds not three minutes. I did... Kim, seconds are not minutes. 


Kim  04:02

I was practicing the timer I wanted to use. 


Pam  04:04

Okay, three minutes, go. Oh, my gosh. You're a mess. Oh, wait. Okay, I want my time back. Problem Strings are an instructional routine. Or is an instructional routine? I don't even know the verb for that. I got three minutes. An instructional routine that is amazing. That I totally give Cathy Fosnot a lot of credit for teaching me. She got it from the Netherlands. It is a way to teach that we can get a lot done. Brennan Scribner said not too long ago, "It is high dosage patterning." Problem Strings are amazing. However, they're not the only way to teach. If you were to see me teach in my university classes or at workshops, you will see that I use a lot of Problem Strings, but it's not the only thing I do. In my perfect world, we would have teachers teach something like a Problem String to get ideas bubbling up and percolating that we're going to need in the Rich Task that follows. Some sort of inquiry kind of like thing that kids are going to dive in and have to really fuss with. But then, we're going to admit that even we have a conversation after that Rich Task and we kind of bring some things together that we really haven't cinched anything. We haven't gotten kids good at stuff yet. And so, I'm going to follow that with a Problem String again that will kind of cinch something that happened in the Rich Task. Rinse and repeat. So, in my classroom, you're going to see a lot of Rich Tasks that are sandwiched by Problem Strings. You're also going to see other instructional routines like As Close As It Gets and Relational Thinking. So, Problem Strings are important. They're just not the only thing. The reason you hear me talk about Problem Strings so often is because I think it's a great inroad for teachers. I think that it is super difficult to teach a Rich Task. I shouldn't say super, but it's more difficult. And so, if teachers start that way, I think it doesn't go so well, it's hard to do, and so then we tend to kind of... It can die a little bit too easily. And I don't want that to happen. I want teachers to have a good, positive experience, so they will keep doing it. They'll keep on the road to making their, to improving their, to impacting their teaching in a really positive way. So, for that, I think Problem Strings are a super good way to start. So, you'll see me, hear me, experience with me doing a lot of Problem Strings because then I want teachers to then go do those Problem Strings, have a really good experience, have the confidence to continue. Pretty quickly when you get good at Problem Strings, teachers are going to go, "Hey, like is this the only thing? I want more." Ah, now we can give you more. We can give you the other kinds of things that you can do to really get teaching going from a lot of perspectives. One of the other reasons that you'll hear me talk about Problem Strings is because we can do... Not only are they quick and teachers can do them, but they're also... You might think they're like number talks. Number talks are too, in my opinion, are too not focused. There there kind of anything goes. Or at least that's the way they've been kind of suggested. And now, we don't get enough done. So, if teachers are doing number talks, then conversations are not focused enough and kids aren't getting the high dosage patterning that I want them to get. Alright, alright, alright. Ha, you can't stop your alarm. That was pretty good. I can do three minutes. Alright. Cool. Alright, so your turn. Are you ready for one?


Kim  07:15

Did you get most of it in?


Pam  07:16

I think so. 


Kim  07:17

Okay. Nice. Good job.


Pam  07:18

Yeah, I could have talked a little bit more about number talks, but it's okay. Alright. Good enough. 


Kim  07:22



Pam  07:23

Okay, Kim, is it my turn now? I'm going to give you one? Okay. 


Kim  07:25



Pam  07:26



Kim  07:26



Pam  07:27

Sometimes people will say to me, Hey, if you're doing numeracy, if you're doing Pam Harris stuff, Math is Figure-Out-Able stuff, then you're not using a paper and pencil. Go. 


Kim  07:37

Oh, wow. Okay.


Pam  07:39

Okay, don't go. Don't go. I don't have my alarm on. Ah! Okay, go. Go.


Kim  07:43

pencil. You know, it's funny that you mentioned this one because we just actually had a question about this in a group. And you know, one of the things that I know you say all the time is that Cathy Fosnot quote or paraphrase that "Mental math is not done in your head. It's done with your head." And I think that's really important because using relationships is the goal. That's the point. Whether or not you can hold on to it all in your head, whether or not you need to write something down is not the point, right? So, it's thinking, and reasoning, and the relationships that we want to emphasize. So, teachers sometimes ask when do you write something down? When do you not write something down? When do you have kids write something down? When do they not write something down? And being able to hold it does not make you a better mather. It's not about that. So, keeping in your head sometimes means that you're not able to think about the next move. So, we have lots of important strategies and mathematics that, you know, things are sequential. And so, if you are trying to hang on to one move to the next, then sometimes you lose where you are. And so, we spend a lot of time talking with students about how we model their mathematics. We model the moves that they're making for them in the beginning to actually teach them how to model their thinking. And then, the end goal is to have them start to model their own thinking. It's about communication, and about having other people understand their thinking, and having conversations about connecting different strategies. There are some caveats to that, though. If we think that there's going to be an opportunity for students to only represent algorithms. You know, if I'm going to film in a classroom, and there is a strategy that I'm trying to get out. Kids have never modeled their thinking. They've never had a conversation about mathematics before. Then I am very likely not going to have them have a journal or a dry erase board in front of them because the only thing that they do know how to do is write down an algorithm, and that steals the thinking from them. So, never paper and pencil? No. But a judicious use of paper, pencil. I have a son who does have some attention difficulties. And often, I'll say to him write that down. So, I'm direct about get something out of your head, write that down. And it's different for each kid. It's not about forcing them to write something down. It's about encouraging the recording, so that they can hang on to more, so that they can move further into their strategy. Paper, (unclear) 



Bam! That's amazing. So, if I stop it right here, do I get your last 20 seconds? 


Kim  09:26

No, I get. 


Pam  09:30

Oh. Okay, you've got 20 seconds. 


Kim  09:36

You did not have any seconds. 


Pam  09:40

16. 14. 


Kim  09:45

No, I'm done. I'm done. 


Pam  10:19

Oh, I thought you said you wanted to keep the last of your seconds. Okay. Alright. Well, well done. (unclear).


Kim  10:33

Oh, I do have one more thing to say. Nevermind.  I was just going to say, you have four


Pam  10:37

seconds to do it. And now, now there.


Kim  10:41

If we have time at the end. If we have time at the end, I'll mention one more thing.


Pam  10:45

I feel like that wasn't very loud. Could you hear mine (unclear). 


Kim  10:47

I could very much hear it.


Pam  10:48

Oh, you could hear it. Okay. Alright. 


Kim  10:50

Alright, you ready? 


Pam  10:51

Oh, maybe. Okay. Take a deep breath. Alright, go. 


Kim  10:54

Sometimes people say, "That's one and done. I'm going to do something one time, and then I got it all. I'm done."


Pam  11:02

Ah. So, I think you're referring to a conversation you and I had the other day where teachers will come up to me, or participants in our online workshops, or in our Journey support group, and they'll say, "Pam, that training I just did that was your best one yet. You are really getting good." And I'll say, "Oh, like which one was that?" Because, you know, I kind of want to know what it is. And Kim, I have to tell you, it is never the last one that I did. I mean, sometimes it is, but for the most part, it doesn't matter which one it is. In other words, what I'm saying is they might have taken the first workshop that I did last and still say to me, "Wow, you have really gotten good." And so, when teachers say, "You know, I'll just I'll just take your workshop, and then I'm done. It's a one and done. I'll just take it. I'll learn all the things, and them I'm done." May I invite you to consider that many times participants will come up to me and say, "Whoa! Like, this one. This one was specifically..." And maybe I'll get I'll get specific. So, a good friend of mine, Karina. Hey, Karina! Karina had done some work with me in the state of Texas where we created these focus on algebra workshops. And I created the first one linear functions, and the second one quadratic functions, and the third one exponential functions. And then, I proceeded to do those over again. You know, so I created them in that order. Let's be clear. I created them in that order. The last one was the best one I had created. I had put all my intellectual everything I learned from the first two. I just got better. And it was amazing. But people would come up to me when I would do the first one or the second one, and they would say, "Wait, I took your exponential one. I took that third one. But now, I'm taking the linear one. Ah, this is so much better. You've gotten better." And I just smile because I know which one was actually better because, you know, I wrote them in that order, and I learned every time. But what it really says to me is, you're now in a different place. Karina came up to me and she said, "I had taken all three of those workshops. And I just am now in your Building Powerful Linear Functions, and I'm in your Journey, and I'm learning things from you. And I am now... You are so much better." And I just had to smile to myself and go, "And so are you." Like the reason that these things are feeling so different to you, and you're looking at it with these fresh eyes, and you're like, "Whoa, that's amazing," really is because you sort of walked up that landscape of learning. Like you are now further in the landscape of teaching, and so different things are bubbling up for you, are percolating, and you're now seeing some of the teacher moves I've made. Ya'll, when you first do a Problem String the first time, you are really focused on the relationships and building them in your head. Then, if you see that same Problem String again, now you're focused on, "Ooh. Like, why did she choose those numbers? And in that order? And why didn't she represent them that way?" And the next time you see that exact same Problem String, you might be like, "Oh, why did she pause there? And why did she ask that particular student? And why did she... How did she get that kind of learning to happen?" In other words, the first time it's all about the math.


Kim  14:14

And then something's going to happen.


Pam  14:16

I should turn that timer on, so I have some idea of (unclear). 


Kim  14:18

No! You can't. You said you want to check your internal clock. 


Pam  14:22

I did. Well, my internal clock stunk on that one. Oh, well. Alright, your turn. Are you ready? Are you ready?


Kim  14:27

I think so.


Pam  14:30

Okay. Sometimes, Kim.


Kim  14:31



Pam  14:32

Sometimes, Kim, people will say, "Hey, Pam Harris math!" What is our reaction when people call "Pam Harris math". Go.


Kim  14:42

Yeah, the first time I ever heard "Pam Harris math" was in the district that I worked in when I first met you, right? And I think it's a bit of a throwback to me because it really made a lasting impression on me. That when you started working in our area, people didn't really know what to call what we're talking about here, right? That Math is Figure-Out-Able wasn't really kind of the language that you used. It wasn't the language that we used. And you kind of cobbled together a bunch of ideas and a bunch of research, and so when people didn't know what to call it, they just called it "Pam Harris math". And so, we would say, "Oh, like we're doing the Pam Harris math." And that is incredibly problematic. I'm happy that people don't call it "new math" or "different math" because that's not true either. But it's problematic because one day in your life, you're going to retire, and you'll enjoy that time. But then, what happens to "Pam Harris math" when you retire? Right? When something isn't signed to a person, it's not really getting at the heart of the movement. And I hear people say things about other math leaders, and they call it this math or that math. And there are some similarities among the ideas that people are trying to develop. But when it feels very distinct. Like, "I'm doing Pam math." "Well, no. I do so and so math." It's not helpful because eventually that person is going to be gone. And it doesn't talk about the point of the content that we're trying to share. So, what lives on? Does it go away? And the communication is super important because when we're talking with parents and we're talking with students, your name, you know, means you as a person. And you're engaging. And you're fun. And you have a lot to share. And you're really thoughtful. But really, what you want people to remember is not... Or at least what I want people to remember is not you specifically. What I want them to take away is what have I learned from this workshop? What am I going to do to implement something in my classroom? And that will not always be true. In 50 years, we want the Math is Figure-Out-Able movement to be continuing, even though some of the current math leaders are not here.


Pam  16:49

Nice. Yes, Kim. I completely agree. And you had 43 seconds left. Well done. Well, done. Like your internal clock is just like on it today. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, I completely agree. We don't want... It's not a bandwagon, right? We don't want it to go away. Okay, I'm not supposed to add on, so I'm not going to add on. Well done. I appreciate that. It's not about Pam Harris. 


Kim  17:09



Pam  17:09

It's about Math being Figure-Out-Able.


Kim  17:10

This next one, there's no way you're going to be able to do it in three minutes. So, just...


Pam  17:14

Oh, good to know.


Kim  17:15

...right now scale down in your mind. 


Pam  17:19



Kim  17:19

Take a moment to think three points maybe to start. Okay, you ready? Oh, wait I get my timer.


Pam  17:24

Oh, get your timer.


Kim  17:24

See, I forget. There's too many things. Okay, you ready? 


Pam  17:26



Kim  17:28

Sometimes people say that you say algorithms are bad. 


Pam  17:32

Ha, ha, ha. Sure


Kim  17:33

enough. I got an email the other day from a delightful person that I have been back and forth on Twitter. And Brad Balinger said, "Pam, I agree with like, 90% of what you're doing. But why do you call algorithms bad? We have got a talk." And I was like, "Brad, let's get on to zoom. Let's talk. So, we connected. We found a time that we could get on Zoom. We got on Zoom. We started to talk. And he showed me some amazing algorithms and some connections between them. We had a blast doing some math together. And then, he looked at me and he goes, "See this is my point." And I said, "Brad, are you clear, I am not saying that algorithms are bad. What I'm saying is they're not really good teaching tools." And he said, "Oh. Oh, then I agree with everything you're saying." I mean, I'm not quite. Maybe I'm misquoting him a little bit. But he was like, "Wait, you're not saying they're bad?" And I said, "No, like the work that you and I just did..." So basically, he said, you know like, "Here's a really cool algorithm. I noticed how it's connected to this algorithm. And what does that help us bring out in the math? And then, what if we did it in base two, and there was a connection between base two and everything?" It was a super fun sort of trail for us to go down, where we could talk about math that we knew, talk about relationships that we knew. And and he said, "I think there's a place for this kind of thing in math class." And I said, "I do too. Absolutely we can talk about how algorithms work, why they are general, and how the meaning is all kind of stuffed in there. It's like behind the scenes. You can't really tell what's going on. I think that's a very fruitful conversation. But not as a step-by-step procedure that then kids use every time to answer questions." And he's like, "Well, yeah. Of course not." And I was like, "Okay, then we agree." Like, then we agree. So, algorithms are not bad. They're not evil. They are amazing historic achievements! How did mathematicians create these amazing historical achievements? Here's where I don't know if I can do this in under the time I have left, but. Mathematicians ran into patterns in their life, and they played with relationships, and they felt out like how are these all related, and they created strategies, and they solved problems using those strategies. And over time, as they got really good at the relationships, they created algorithms that could generalize the relationships that they were seeing and feeling, and it could be a method to solve problems of any problem in that class. Any problem in that type of problem. That is a super cool achievement to create something that's general enough that no matter what the input is, you can crunch it, and then you get the output. But it was never the intent that that becomes then the way that you teach people how to make the same relationships and connections that they made in that journey. It was never intended that we just hand them a flat out. We can hand kids a calculator. Everybody knows that's a terrible way to teach kids. It's a terrible way to help kids brains develop better to just hand them the calculator. We can end on that. I like it. (unclear).


Pam  19:53

We can end on that. Yeah, that will work. You're right. That one was hard. Because I'm writing a whole book about that.


Kim  20:38

I know. That's what I said you got to think in the beginning. Scale it down. Yeah.  I know,


Pam  20:43

(unclear) I got one more for you. (unclear).


Kim  20:45

Okay. Oh, good because I have one more for you.


Pam  20:47

Okay. Alright. Ready? Kim? 


Kim  20:50



Pam  20:51

People will say that, that Pam Harris is just about K-12... I'm not saying it right. That Pam Harris is not K-12. There. There's a way to say that. Oh. (unclear). "Oh, you're just elementary." Or, "Oh, we know you're just high school." Go? 


Kim  21:03

Yep. You know what? I think that that's probably true that they say that because you are so good at catering the conversation to the group that you're talking to. You know, some of the content that you work on is... Well, lots of it is like there's some background that's widespread. But in each workshop, you like hone in on that grade band. So, I'm not actually surprised that people say that. In fact, I don't know if I've ever told you this. But when we first met, I was teaching elementary school. And you were doing some work in elementary, but I knew that you had a high school background. And I literally was like, "What does she know about teaching elementary school?" Like, because I knew you were a high school teacher. But it's not to see like how you... I mean, if they spend any time with you working with you, it's not hard to see how you really work to have a global K-12 perspective, right? And so, maybe that's a miss because people watch you do such great work in their band. So, you obviously had experience teaching high school, but then I think because elementary stuff was so important to you at that time in your life, you dove in. Like, and I say "dove". We use that phrase. But like, lived and breathe what was happening K-5 because your heart of heart was there. You know, your kids were there. And so, it mattered so much. And anytime something matters, you know, give it our all. And then, of course your kids grew up, right? So, you know, somebody might say, "Well, you have high school. And then, you were in elementary school. What about middle?" What carried through as well. So, I think what's really valuable is that, you know, sometimes people, you know, want to get a part of a movement, right? And it's like all K-5. And the difficulty with that is when you're done with fifth grade, then you're like, "Now, what?" You know, we see people do, you know, work with a particular textbook, and then they're always saying, "Well, we do this in K-5, but then now what?" And so, I think it's really helpful for somebody to be a part of a movement that has already done the work of thinking K-12. Because then, it's not like let me jump into this one thing. And then, oh, completely shift gears. Right? So, I'll give much credit to you about how you, from the very beginning, have always thought about every grade, every grade and how does this impact the grade before and the grade after? And it's clearly infused into the entire Math is Figure-Out-Able movement. So, if people are saying you're not K-12 They're wrong.


Pam  21:45

Hey, you got totally closer to the end. You had 24 seconds left on that one. (unclear).


Kim  23:41

Wait, I have like an extra minute forty-five overall.


Pam  23:44

Oh, and you're going to take that and run with it. You're going to like say you get it for something. 


Kim  23:49

I'm going to say you owe me an extra point two minutes in our next meeting for me to hound you about something.


Pam  23:54

Or Kim gets extra points or something.


Kim  23:56

I win!


Pam  23:59

Alright, one more, Kim. Give me your last one. (unclear) 


Kim  24:01

Okay, you ready? 


Pam  24:02

Yes, yes, yes. 


Kim  24:02

Okay. This is kind of an interesting one. Because we recently had Dr. Marion Small join us for a challenge. And in the prep for that, one of the things that she said to you was you only do numeracy. 


Pam  24:18

Ah. Yeah, and it was in a real respectful way. 


Kim  24:21

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure.


Pam  24:22

She says, "You know, so I've noticed that you really do numeracy when you work with teachers and everything." And then, I don't even remember what else she asked me. But yeah, you're right. Because I told you afterwards, I was like, "Sometimes people think that I only do numeracy." This actually relates a little bit to the question you were just talking about with the K-12. Often, people will say, "Oh, you know, because you you just do numeracy." Or, "You just do like 3-5 work." Or... Because they'll hear me dive in and do problems here on the podcast, or in a workshop, or in a presentation where I will do like a multiplication Problem String. And I'll hit kind of like a grade four or five sort of numeracy kind of thing. Why do I do that? Well, for the most part, I can kind of guarantee that no matter what my audience is, everyone will have an access point if I do a multiplication string that's kind of a fourth fifth grade Problem String. Everyone will have an access point. And I can be guaranteed that because I'm talking strategy and I'm representing thinking, everyone will be challenged. So, it is a place that I know. Kind of like you said in that question before. I really think about my audience, and if that audience is of a wide grade range, then I'm going to do something that I know everybody will have access to, but I will also be able to challenge everybody. So, I don't do just numeracy. We just filmed, a few weeks ago, for our new workshop that's going to come out. In January 2025. High school Problem Strings. And I filmed that high school Problem String workshop with high school teachers. And we definitely had people in the workshop. In fact... Oh, I don't have them here anymore. On my desk, I had the evaluations at the end of the workshop. And two or three people in their evaluation said that we went too fast and the math was too high. Like, "I am a high school teacher, and I was really mathing. I was really trying to keep up with the math in the workshop." And so, I'll just say that as, yeah, I absolutely do higher math. But I do it in a way that you know like, you said. We're trying to cater to the audience. So, if you're thinking I only do numeracy, then that's because I'm talking to an audience where I'm trying to make sure everybody has access, and I can challenge everybody. But man, you want to jump into some higher math, we definitely have higher math going on. Or younger math. Like our Building Addition for Young Learners workshop is all about super, super young. Dan Meyer was right. Math class absolutely does need a makeover. And it's a big chunk to tackle. And so, often, you'll see me start with numeracy in a way to say, "Let me grab you here in this thing that I know you can access, and I know I can challenge you a little bit to go, "Whoa. Maybe what I thought math was, math teaching was, maybe it could be different." And I feel like I can do that super well with numeracy. I can get a big bang for my buck by having people rethink the way they thought about. You know, multiplication. You just line up the numbers, and you just do the steps. And the magic zero. And the blah, blah, blah. That's the definition of multiplication. Or is it? Can you math? And so, again, you'll often see me do numeracy as an inroad, as a thing to start with, to grab your attention, get you going. And then, now that your fires lit, now we can do other math. We can dive into other parts. There. Ha! How did I do? 


Kim  25:02

Well, I have a confession. 


Pam  25:35

(unclear) There I heard it. No?


Kim  27:32

I have a confession. I was listening to you. And I looked over at my clock, and I was like, "Oh, I didn't set it." So, I set it for an extra minute. And I thought, "Okay, she'll either just be excited that she has another minute. Or I'll cut her off."


Pam  27:55

So, what you're saying is my internal talk clock is more like four minutes.


Kim  27:59

No, I'm just saying I have no idea if you went over or under, and I just.


Pam  28:03



Kim  28:03

Good job.


Pam  28:04

Alright. So, Kim, why did we decide to do this lightning round? Well, as people hear the things, and they give us feedback, then we can do things like this where we can respond and help us all gain clarity.


Kim  28:15

Yeah. And I think it's really important for us to hear how you're being heard, how the movements being heard. And so, if there are other misconceptions, or you think they're misconceptions, you're questioning like, "Is that really what is happening? Is that really what we're supposed to be doing?" We would love to hear that because making sure that Pam's clear, making sure that we're clear is super important to us. And we wouldn't want people to just turn around saying things that we hear later, and go, "Oh, actually..." So, if you hear something and you're wondering, "Is that true? Is that really what we should be doing?" You can send those misconceptions or ideas of misconceptions that you're wondering about to me, And while you're sending some information to me, why don't you hop on over to your podcast platform and give us a review and a rating. It's super fun for us, and also it helps spread the podcast for more people to join the Math is Figure-Out-Able movement.


Pam  29:14

And we would really appreciate that. Ya'll, thank you for tuning in and teaching more and more real math. To find out more about the Math is Figure-Out-Able movement, visit And thank you for spreading the word that Math is Figure-Out-Able!