Step One: Try

"Try" is the first step of each unit in Japan Math Corp.'s Primary Math International Lesson Book. Students are instructed to work on a single problem that requires concepts that they have not been taught yet. In other words, they cannot simply apply what they have already learned to solve the problem. Instead, they must be tenacious in trying to figure it out on their own, without help from their teacher. Problem solving involving new concepts helps students assess what they have previously learned. This is where the student's prior learning and new learning meet. 

Problems in the "Try" step are generally related to everyday life, with a level of difficulty that is challenging but not so difficult as to intimidate and extinguish interest. By making students feel that what they are learning is fun and applicable to daily life, they will be more motivated to learn.

Another major factor in students' motivation is their ability to contribute to their relationships with others. Once they solve a problem on their own, students are encouraged to share their ideas with their peers. The idea here is not for their presentations to be correct but rather to promote engagement and discussions.

With facilitation from their teacher, they will share a variety of mathematical concepts. By the end of the lesson, students will be confident that they have solved the problem by working together. 

In a classroom, you will see that this approach fosters confidence in students and verbalization helps them to understand concepts more deeply. Students are eager to share their strategies and teachers encourage participation from everyone. Talking is allowed in class! 


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