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The title to this blog post sounds suspiciously like the subtitle to the next Transformers sequel. I assure you, it isn't. The title in fact comes from an activity that I had assigned the students working at level 4.5 in the structure domain in mathematics (4.5 means high school material, a year ahead of where these students are chronologically).

Now, it's not the most exciting material, but I felt I did do a reasonable job of this particular instructional video...

My use of video to accelerate students' learning is at odds with much of the accepted dogma around differentiation. The idea around differentiation in maths seems to be that the whole class does decimals, but the low end kids do decimals with one decimal place, the kids in the middle do decimals with two or three decimal places, and the top end kids do decimals with seven places.

This doesn't wash with me.

This is ok for a limited amount of differentiation. But if some of your students don't understand place value, or fractions, they need to be doing something else. Similarly, if some of your students have shown a strong understanding of decimals to five places, they don't need to do them with seven places. They get decimals. They need to do something else.

And while I'll freely admit that this particular activity is not mind-blowingly interesting, the mere fact that these kids are working at their true zone of proximal development means they are engaged and challenged in ways I've not seen them challenged before.

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