How to Use the Problems-First Method

I think that skiing, surfing, videogames, and a wide variety of activities are fun because they involve insight problem solving. Obviously, I try to bring this same enjoyment to math. But I have found it useful to try to structure the math experience like skiing, surfing, etc. are structured. I call this Surfin' Math.
  • Basic Principles. Basic principles of using the Insight method.
  • Surfin' Math. Essentially, structuring the math experience so that it is more like skiing or a video game.
  • Constructing Problems. A simple, easy, yet useful technique -- reverse roles and let the students construct a problem.
  • The Social Jump-start. Using social factors at the start, so that the experience is enjoyable.
  • Curriculum. An unusual curriculum -- the concepts you want to teach.

OTHER ESSAYS: Different Types of Enjoyment (as goals in teaching math), Building Math Talent, Story Problems First (Young children should start with story problems, not abstract formulations), An Example (especially patience)..

Richard Feynman, famous physicist: "'Doing it by algebra' was a set of rules which, if you followed them blindly, could produce the answer ... a series of steps by which you could get the answer if you didn't understand what you were trying to do."

p. 17, What do You Care What Other People Think?