These resources are intended to be used at the beginning of a school year to introduce students to the idea that anyone can learn mathematics and to provide instructional activities to support students in developing mathematical habits of mind and a growth mindset.
“When students and educators have a growth mindset, they understand that intelligence can be developed. Students focus on improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are. They work hard to learn more and get smarter. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation in school, better grades, and higher test scores” (www.mindsetworks.com).
Through these activities, students will have the opportunity to explore growth mindsets and learn how the brain grows. Each day will begin with a Contemplate then Calculate activity in which students will look for structure to solve seemingly complicated problems. Then students will watch a video, read an article, or write a letter in order to better understand the importance of growth mindsets.
Students will understand the importance of a growth mindset (e.g., that math is not about talent or natural ability but is about thoughtful practice) and what it means to talk and listen. Students will also understand that class is where students practice thinking and doing math.
- Students will learn the value of taking time to think about math and listen to how others make sense of their work to arrive at a common understanding.
- Students will build the habits of using precise language, practicing, and sharing their thoughts.
- Jo Boaler: Week of Inspirational Math: Series of lesson plans that include a video and activity.
- Enact this skit to allow students to identify growth and fixed mindsets in a math classroom, which includes two parts with discussion guides. ‘Cast’ your actors one or two days in advance so that they have a chance to read through the script beforehand.
- Distribute or post classroom norms or establish a custom version for your classroom.
- Additional Growth Mindset Lessons / Activities
NOTE: Activities and lesson plan ideas can vary based on schedules. Once the classroom norms are set and students are introduced to the concept of a growth mindset, the activities in subsequent themes can be completed throughout the year.