I’d be surprised if I was the only teacher to have students that show sloppy, disorganized work (see content). It would be relatively easy for me to tell my students exactly how I want their work presented and require this specific presentation form. But what happens when my students have a different math teacher. Perhaps someone who wants things presented differently. I’m not talking here about the rigidity of mathematics being compromised, but rather about items like…
- How much space should I leave between problems?
- Should we put an equal sign before or after a mathematical statement when showing the solution to a problem?
- Should I circle my final answer, put a box around it or do nothing at all to it?
- How do I organize my work so that it’s easy for someone to locate a particular solution to a problem?
How these questions are answered through presentation might largely be a matter of taste, but there are some fundamental elements of design that help us identify what works and what doesn’t work in the presentation of work. I’ve chosen to focus on teaching these elements this year and it has opened up the doors to improved presentation of student work and improvement in my lectures. I have author Robin Williams to thank for her book, The Non-Designer’s Design and Type Books, which has sparked my creativity and given me some fundamentals on which to base my expectations of students. The answers to the questions listed above can be found in discussions of…
- Consistency (Repetition)
These elements can form a fairly crude acrostic when using Repetition instead of Consistency, and rearranging the letters so I’ve opted to remove Repetition from the lineup and replace it with Consistency, giving us PACC. I’ll be expanding on each of these in future posts, but for now I’ll end with this. As a Christian I believe in the intentionality of God. He has a reason for everything that He chooses to do. Sometimes we easily appreciate what He does, and sometimes it’s not so easy. The point is that He does things for a reason. Our God is not a god of randomness. These elements of design help us begin to understand this intentionality while pursuing a higher level of presentation value in our work. I’m looking forward to continuing this discussion.