Brain research is indicating that students need to be able to fluently/efficiently need to be able to compute basic skills while performing higher-level skills. No easy answer about how to develop these basic skills in older students who are still struggling, but does make a direct connection between basic skills and number sense. Important to continue to understand that these skills can and need to be developed in upper grades.
“Cognitive psychologists have discovered that humans have fixed limits on the attention and memory that can be used to solve problems. One way around these limits is to have certain components of a task become so routine and over-learned that they become automatic.” Whitehurst, 2003
The research cited above highlights the importance of math fact fluency; however, the computation capabilities of American students appear to be falling. Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institute has reviewed responses to select items on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and concluded that performance on basic arithmetic facts declined in the 1990s (Loveless, 2003).
Powerful topic, poverty and patterns in data relationships over time, WOW. Hans Rosling uses some incredible statistical software to present the data, but the idea can be mimicked using some PP type technologies and creating graphs. The topic of poverty is explored in a very easy understandable way; I think high school students would understand the topic and love the idea. Make sure you listen to his use of the databases, and remember he is one of the premier statisticians in the world. He is changing how he presents data, and I think we need to listen to his message on this topic.