Differentiation: Like Changing Gears on a Bike
By: Mary Kienstra on: July 17, 2017 in: differentiation, Math, differentiation, math
For so long, math class was every kid doing the same worksheet. But, as you know, not every student learns the same way of has the same skill set. As the students’ skills improve, teachers increase the rigor or level of difficulty. This reminds me of riding a bike when you use the gears to find the right level of challenge. Differentiation is like changing the gears on a bike.
Riding a bike is an individual activity. Even if you are riding with a group, the rider chooses the gear or level of difficulty for the ride. All the riders in the group are riding together, but each is working at his/her pace. Why can’t math class be like this? Why can’t each student work at his/her own pace to accomplish the goals or the standards of that lesson?
In a fully differentiated math class, each student is using the right “gear,” going at the just right pace, toward the goal. Some will be in high gear and accomplish the standard quickly while others might be at a lower gear, working slower to get there. The important thing is that everyone is working at their pace. Like the group of bike riders, it doesn’t matter what gear you are in, as long as you are peddling and making progress.
Let’s make math class more like spin class. Students need to be working hard with a coach/teacher who challenges them and pushes them to work hard. Each student is peddling fast and making progress, but not always in the same gear.