Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris-logo

Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Education Podcasts

Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.

Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.


United States


Math teacher educator Pam Harris and her cohost Kim Montague answer the question: If not algorithms, then what?Join them for ~15 minutes every Tuesday as they cast their vision for mathematics education and give actionable items to help teachers teach math that is Figure-Out-Able.








Ep 24: Perspectives Impacting Pedagogy

This episode is part one to a new five part series! Pam and Kim introduce the three main perspectives impacting pedagogy. Understanding these perspectives helps teachers analyze their own teaching have productive conversations regarding math education. Talking Points: QUIZ


Ep 23: The Commutative Property

How can we help students feel comfortable with the commutative property? In this episode Pam and Kim go through some addition and multiplication problems to demonstrate how they think and reason using the the commutative property.


Ep 22: The Swapping Strategy

Kim relates a great math experience she had with her son Luke. Luke found a way to mess around with place value in addition that Pam went most of her life not knowing! Listen in as Pam and Kim discuss the importance of learning to manipulate place value as students develop into mathematicians. Talking Points: Transcript:


Ep 21:Playing With Percents 2

Pam and Kim are back at it with percents. They discuss the 3 types of percent problems and how they solve them using relations, not with algorithms. Are percents truly figure-out-able? You bet! Grab a pen and paper for this one as we solve some percent problems! Talking Points


Ep 20: Playing with percents

Pam and Kim are back at it showing that percents too are figure-out-able. In this episode they solve some percentage problems and share their strategies. Listen in as they go through a percentage problem string!


Ep 19: Fractions, Decimals, Percents

Pam and Kim explore what it means to be flexible with fractions, decimals, and percents. They discuss how we can become more flexible as we deal with rational numbers, and how we can be judicious problem solvers. Talking Points


Ep 18: This, not that

You might want your magnifying glass for this one, cause this episode we're getting a little nitpicky. Pam and Kim discuss common nomenclature/math-slang that can take the reasoning out of mathematics. They offer useful alternatives and illustrate the importance of clear mathematical language Talking Points:


Ep 17: Social vs Logical Knowledge

Math is figure-out-able, but surely there are some parts that are only memorizable, right? In this episode Pam and Kim parse out the difference between social knowledge and logical knowledge. They'll analyze how knowing the difference can affect the types of questions you ask and the role of wait time in teaching. Talking Points:


Ep 16: The Language of Counting

This week's episode is for all you parents and teachers of young children. Pam and Kim discuss ways to make counting figure-out-able! How can we help kids make sense of our number system and master the meaning behind the words we give to numbers? No matter what grade you teach, you're sure to learn something this episode. Talking Points: Find the transcript here:


Ep. 15: Problem Solving with a Twist

Have you ever tried teaching your students the steps to approaching word problems, but your students still struggled? Pam and Kim discuss a better way to help kids tackle math problems. They explain why if you want the best for your students, the acronyms and problem annotation methods of the past simply won't cut it. Help your students live the problem solving process, and not just memorize it. Talking Points Resources: Brain Bushart's Numberless Word Problems


Episode 14: Guess my Number

Pam and Kim have some fun this episode as they read out a submission from Aaron Houston about his mathy dad. They talk about the kinds of things parents can do with their kids to have fun mathematizing! Talking Points


Episode 13: The Layers to Mathematics for Teaching

There are so many aspects to teaching, and it gets more complex when we want to discuss teaching math. Pam and Kim define the 5 layers for mathematics teaching. What do math teachers, who want to help their students mathematize, need to focus on? Talking Points Resources: Journey


Ep 12: Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Know Your Beliefs

As Pam and Kim wrap up their series on how to start the school year right, they encourage staying true to your beliefs as a math teacher. When making decisions in your classroom, there is power in consistency. They discuss how they approach analyzing and implementing other's ideas into their teaching practice, without giving up on their integrity. Talking Points: Transcript HERE


Ep 11: Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Building Culture Remotely

Join Pam and Kim in part two of their Top 3 Things to Start the Year series. This week its all about building a classroom culture where students and students' thinking are valued. They'll talk about how to implement tasks remotely that build a community of learners. Pam also throws out some great advice for facilitating lessons and tasks remotely. You won't want to miss it! Talking Points Resources


Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Student Names

As the world prepares for one of the most interesting beginnings to the school year, Pam and Kim are here to help us get it right. They start off this 3 part series by dialing in on the importance of using students names. Find the transcripts HERE. Talking Points: maternalResources: Name Tents from Sarah Van Der Werf:


Strategies and Models

What is the difference between a strategy and a model? Listen as Pam and Kim give clear examples from both elementary and high school content to demonstrate the importance of developing strategy and communicate strategy through models. They provide clear, easy to follow insights so everyone can understand the purpose of models in constructing and communicating strategy. Talking Points New Problem String videos!Resources Strategies vs Models Article Strategy vs Models Card...


More Cool Things Mathy People Do

After last weeks discussion on partners of 10, 100, and 100, Pam and Kim thought of three more habits "mathy people" have in common. Listen in as they discuss: 1. What it means for mathematicians to "Notice and Wonder" 2. Double and halving 3. Creating habits of thinking (as opposed to grabbing for a calculator) Tune in to next week's episode to hear all about Pam's method of categorizing levels of mathematical thinking, what she calls "The Development of Mathematical Reasoning". Find...


One Thing Mathy People Do

In this episode Pam and Kim share one of their favorite instructional routines: I Have, You Need. They discuss some of the most common patterns that mathmaticians play with, partners of 10, 100, and 1000. These "partners of ___ " patterns pop up everywhere! You'll never guess where they pop up daily for Pam (hint: its when she's the most worked up). Try out I Have, You Need with your friends, colleagues, and students! A quick way to build anyone's reasoning abilities and to help us all...


The Development of Mathematical Reasoning part 2: Functional Reasoning

Many people feel that reasoning and numeracy come to an end in highschool. How could we mathematize algebraic concepts? What does it mean, and what does it look like to have functional reasoning? Listen as Pam explains how functional reasoning builds off of proportional reasoning and empowers students to analyze and understand patterns of related value sets. Sounds complicated? Don't worry, Kim does her best to keep Pam on track and grounded. Talking Points


The Development of Mathematical Reasoning

This episode is so important! Pam and Kim describe the Development of Mathematical Reasoning, and how it transforms our understanding of what it means to learn and teach mathematics. They discuss how freeing it feels to know that everyone can develop their reasoning, and how the Development of Mathematical Reasoning empowers teachers to know how best to help their students. To help you determine where you and your students are in the Development of Mathematical Reasoning, here's a free...