The “A-Ha” Moment

February 26th, 2017 by Annie Polashock

When a student has an “A-Ha” or “light bulb” moment, it is something that as an educator makes me light up with joy. I love it when students make connections in any possible way that they can.

Students recently had this when I was teaching them about angle relationships– supplementary, complementary angles and why a circle makes up 360 degrees. As I was showing them that vertical angles were congruent or how there were multiple supplementary relationships that could be used to find missing angles, I saw several students at different times have an “Ohhhhhhhh” or “A-Ha” moment.

The Kenan Fellowship has reinforced to me that I need to teach students WHY they are learning or doing something. When I taught the angle relationships to students, they are used to hearing things like, “A straight angle is 180 degrees.” They did not know why. I showed them with protractors to reinforce that information. We then used that information to find missing angles. Students were giving me relationships– like vertical angles before I was even introducing them the vocabulary. They could show me that they were congruent, and then that is when I made sure they had the mathematical vocabulary. Before Kenan Fellows, I would have most likely just given them definitions ahead of time, shown some examples, but not really dive into the WHY behind the material. I think that the WHY has really helped my students have a better mathematical foundation that they can carry with them for future years.

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