# OpenLab Assignment #1: Mathography

This assignment is due Thursday, June 13th, at the start of class. Â Late submissions will receive partial credit.

Assignment. Â Choose ONE of the following two topics. Â Write a comment in reply to this post (click “Leave a Reply” below), responding to the topic in 1-2 paragraphs. Â Begin by telling us which topic you chose. Â  Be sure to include your name so I can give you credit.

Topics.

1. Was math ever your favorite subject? If so, when was it? What about math made it your favorite? If math has never been your favorite subject, what about it do you not like?
2. Sometimes people can recognize a time when their opinion of math dramatically changed either for the better or the worse. If such a time happened for you, tell about it. If you did not experience such a thing, tell about your steady feelings about mathematics.

Extra Credit. Â For extra credit, write a response to one of your classmatesâ€™ comments. Â Do you feel the same? Â Did you learn anything? Â Do you have any advice? Â Be kind.

Why are we doing this, anyway?Â  Having progressed this far in your school career, you are familiar with many of the tools for learning math:Â Â studying, practicing by doing problems, asking questions when you need help, and so on. Â Iâ€™d like to talk about two activities that may NOT seem related to learning math â€” but research shows that engaging in these activities canÂ dramaticallyÂ increase the amount that you learn, and change the way you learn it. Â The first isÂ writingÂ â€“ something not typically associated with mathematics. Â When you express your ideas in words, it forces you to think them through very carefully, detail by detail. Â A great way to check and see if you really understand something is to try to explain it to someone else, either out loud or in writing. Â Example: if you know how to add fractions, try teaching it someone who doesnâ€™t know how. Â The second is calledÂ metacognition, or â€śthinking about thinking.â€ť Â This happens when you think about what was going on in your head while you were working on a problem or trying to learn a new idea. Â What train of thought did you follow? Â Where did you get stuck, and what did you do next? Â What were you feeling at the time? and so on. Â Combining writing and metacognition can be a tremendously powerful tool in identifying the ways we learn best and the ways we make mistakes, and learning to improve. Â However, like any skill, it takes practice. Â Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re getting started by writing a little about our past experiences with mathematics.