“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As my fifth grade students worked on solving 1,522 x 21, I asked for volunteers to share their strategies. One student explained and showed on his handheld dry-erase board: “I know that 1,522 x 10 is 15,220. If I double that, I get 30,440. I added one more group of 1,522 to get 31,962. A second student said they had a different way of solving the problem: “I know that 1,000 x 21 = 21,000, 500 x 21 = 10,500, 20 x 21 = 420 and 2 x 21 = 42. Then, I added the products together to get 31,962.” A third student showed how she used the standard algorithm. I had them write out their strategies next to each other, and other students could be heard saying, “I used the regrouping strategy,” or “I used the algorithm.” There was an unspoken understanding and appreciation for different ways of approaching mathematical expressions or for any concept- that there is no one correct way to come to an answer. Try to quantify that in a data networking system…

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