Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Sir, plz aur ek problem do naaaa......." :-)

Hello friends,

How have you all been doing???   :)

Yes, I know its been looooong, and there is no post on this group, isn't it?  Yet, I am little happy that its not only me, but some of you too who feel the same.... as I have been hearing from you via messages and emails about the silence in this zone......I feel very happy when some teachers tell me that they are missing my Long Math-conversations. :)

But to be honest, this has also been one of the demotivating reasons for me to write in this group....

@ Friends, I do work with schools, teachers and students. But I am not an amazing regular full-time school maths teacher like you.... Though I have created this group, but I really wanted You all to make the best of it and take it ahead.  ...like the community owned  By the teachers, For the teachers! ...so that there is no dearth of a helping hand or an ear, in case any ones needs it... a platform at your finger-tips to connect with teachers from other schools, learn some interesting stuff from peers across the boundaries, write to them and discuss with them about your their struggles, listen to their experiences, failures, innovative practices, and success-stories of many maths classrooms...

I remember how overwhelmingly most of you had responded to the idea of this google-group and even to the previous maths-conversations posted by me... And believe me, I have been really wanting to share so many more such beautiful math-stories with all of you, that I have accumulated in past few months with amazing number of middle school students based in urban-private, municipal as well as rural schools..... But.....   :( 

So folks, let's have a deal....Really?  :)  For every two classroom stories shared by anyone in this group, I too will post one Story.. How about it?   :)

"There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.” ~ John Holt

So here is one math-story from my side... Actually, this one is a very short piece of a beautiful maths class I had with a bunch of Visually Challenged students... I really want to share all our class-room stories..... Every session with this lovely bunch has been an enrichment session for me, enabling me to become a better maths teacher.... I hope I will blog all these conversations one day.....but for now, let me awaken this group with this booster :)

The learners (me and my students) -- all of us were sitting on the floor, in a circle.... I think they were around 5-6 of them (class-6-8)

While thinking on a particular math problem, we arrived at a situation where I wanted Juilee and Prasad to have equal amount of money, given that they had different amount of money in the beginning (Juilee had Rs.2,500 and Prasad had Rs.3,250) Also, they are not allowed to discard or borrow any money from outside.

I noticed that they were struggling to get through this problem and hence after about 10-minutes, I decided to break my silence... by posing a simpler problem to them.... I made Prasad's amount relatively easier... it was rounded to 3,500.... ..Now it was not so difficult for one of them to arrive at the solution...

"Sir, I will give my 500 to Juilie and both of us will 3,000."

"Hmmm.... So let's switch back to our original problem then.....2,500 and 3,250"

"Sir.... this one is very difficult."

"Really? Let's give a try now.. I don't think, it should be difficult now :)  "

Again....... a silence......and a struggle...... 

Meanwhile, one more student -- Faizaan -- joined us and this problem was posed to him too... He too is visually impaired, and I am completely awe-struck by the remarkable mathematical aptitude of this guy. This 15-16 yr old chap has just blown me off every time, with his super computation and concentration abilities... 

"Faizaan.... Sir will not tell us the answer......you plz help us.", complained Prasad with a frustrating tone :)

And I was so delighted,... this is the moment I yearn for.... Peer-group learning !!  I believe, being labelled as a villian is a very small price that any teacher would (love to) pay, if this would bond his students more closely, isn't it ?  :))

"Sir, Shall I tell the solution to them?", Faizaan asks me politely and with a smile.... He now knows that this teacher wants his students to think and discover on their own.  But before I could say anything, other students took over and he was hijacked... And I happily gave it away....

"Go ahead, Faizaan.... But after him, I want others also to think of a different approach to this problem...I am allowing him to disclose the solution, only on this condition."

A loud YES  :)

So the hero begins ---   "The answer is   Each gets Rs. 2,875."


"But how did you do this?", asks Kajal to Faizaan.

"See, its very simple....  Juilie has 2,500 and Prasad has 3,250....
So first I remove the amount that Prasad has more than 3,000.....i.e. I remove Rs.250........ So this leaves  3,000  with him now...
Now from this 3,000/-  I further remove 250 and give it to Juilie, so that now, each of them will have an equal amount = 2,750/-  ...."

And I was just about to say......Waaaaaaaaaooooowwwwww! when.....

"But you said the answer is 2,875?", argued Prasad immediately.

"Arrey, wait naaa..... I still have your 250 with me."

"Oh !! "

"So finally, because both of them should have an equal amount, I divide 250 equally among them as 125 each. ...So this comes to 2,875 each."

And I was like......completely awe-struck !!  The method that was simmering in my mind, (the mind of a conventionally taught teacher), was the usual ghissaaaa-pittaaaa one, which now, I was even ashamed of comparing it with their creative one :))  

But, wait...... Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost........    ;)

I was expecting some oooohs and aaahs from the students for Faizaan, but surprisingly, the class was again led to silence...... Still ???

"What happened?", asked Faizaaan, curiously to his peers.

"Nahin samjhaaa kyaaaa?", he prompts back.

"Samjhaaa...but 2,750 + 125 add kar rahein hain.... "

Meanwhile, I also noticed that Kajal and Juilie too were struggling and were just about to resort to their computing pads, for performing this addition.

"Wait.", and I almost screamed. "Lets try to add mentally."

And the group began.......

"First lets keep 2000 aside......700 and 100 is 800..........50 and 25 is 75........ So we got 875........ Adding that 2000 back, we get 2,875"

"Hurray!  We got it........Sir, plz aur ek problem do naaaa........."      :)  :)

Eagerly waiting to hear from you....your reflection, your views, your learning from this math-conversation, from these students.....

PS: New teachers can also click the above link to be part of this group:    


  1. On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 3:34 PM, Pankaj Kanchankar pankajk@thoughtworks.com wrote:


    This story is really great and shows the amount of learning that can happen if we allow that time and have patience for children to try things on their own.

    You mentioned about a group of maths teachers in initial part of this email. Can you please share which google group is that? A friend of mine is a teacher and he would definitely like to join such a group.


    Pankaj Kanchankar
    Client Principal

  2. On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:55 PM, Vinay Nair nairvinayr@gmail.com wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful story Rupesh. Yesterday I had blogged a recent experience in doing a session for children between 6 to 8 years and their parents. Will share the link in a separate email.



  3. On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 7:31 AM, Neha Sharma nehasharma.cbse@gmail.com wrote:

    Dear Rupesh ji,

    An interesting and motivating experience indeed. Thanks for sharing

    Warm Regards,

    Neha Sharma
    Deputy Director (Exams & Reforms),
    Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE),
    Academic Unit,
    'Shiksha Sadan', 17-Rouse Avenue
    New Delhi-110002

  4. On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 8:00 AM, Mukund Deo mukunddeo@yahoo.in wrote:

    Really an interesting experience.
    You can give many more problems which can create interest in them
    Thanks for sharing with me


    On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:52 AM, Subodh Kembhavi subkem@gmail.com wrote:

    Thanks Rupesh. Great story. Quite inspiring.

  5. On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 11:09 AM, Vidya Kubde vidyakubde@gmail.com wrote:

    It was a good story , and thanks for motivating us to improve ourself. Its not that ki we dont know all these thingd, but the day to day hectic life makes us so busy that we never think for all these things, .Al last thanks for reminding us the our duties.

  6. On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 1:00 PM, Dr. NandKumar Jadhav nandukj@gmail.com wrote:

    Dear Rupesh,

    It was great experiance reading your post. It shows how deep your involvement and commitment towards teaching and children.

    Keep it Up.

    Dr Nandu