After the talk it over for a Rubius Shirt few minutes, tell them that 19 is actually the correct answer and that you’re going to teach them some important rules for solving problems that involve more than one operation. This activity is a great way to start your order of operations lesson because it creates a feeling of “cognitive dissonance,” a state of mind in which we struggle to assimilate new facts that don’t match what we thought we knew about a topic. Surfaces are dense and covered, and richly layered, and there is nothing in the room that implies “don’t touch me or you’ll get in trouble.” That bar is pretty low for kids – they really need to know they are welcome to explore. I loved the feeling of space. It made me think of the Spanish word “ambient”–that convivial, welcoming feeling.
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I feel very careful talking about the ways that the Rubius Shirts particular populations who we choose to work with for social justice reasons are also the people who make our work possible because of cultural expectations. We were talking about planning and executing a pilot project in a six-week time span-absolutely unreal. The first one or two were a little tough, not because folks weren’t willing to try, but because we were fighting against existing workflows and timelines that moved at a comparatively glacial pace. The more pilots we ran and the more times we stepped outside the existing system (with the help of colleagues), the easier it became. After two years of running rapid pilots and continuing to push our colleagues (we’re surprised they’re still speaking to us sometimes!), we’ve noticed other staff members questioning why projects take as long.
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