Steve Gissendanner (Gifted Resource): Twisted Math

Steve Gissendanner attended the Twisted Math conference on 11/19/15 in Charlottesville:

Twisted Math was a one-day conference here in Charlottesville sponsored by the Virginia School/University Partnership.

The premise of the conference was that students should be doing math problems, not math exercises. That means, problems that require students to persevere through difficulties and numerous setbacks, think deeply about mathematical concepts, collaborate with others, and perhaps spend multiple days on one problem.

Carefully designed twisted math problems are more than typical problem solving activities; they target specific conceptual weaknesses.

For example, students work with numbers automatically, and often reach the upper grades without a fully thought-out understanding of our place value system. This problem, recently solved by a third grader, was designed to focus on the structure and rules of our place value system:

Imagine you visit another planet and are translating their native number system to our alien system. Their system has the same structure and rules as our system. It includes only the symbols: #, *, @, &, ^, >

# is the placeholder, the other symbols are listed in ascending order. Count to 25 in this system. Add @ & > and ^ * #.
— Steve Gissendanner