091: Solving Puzzles and Productive Failure with Kim Vanderspek

In this episode, Kim Vanderspek talks about solving puzzles and teaching others to do the same by using technology to visualize math by quilting, sewing, Playdough, and other mediums. She also explains why failure is an important part of success, and why perseverance matters over content.

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Coraline Ada Ehmke | Jessica Kerr | Sam Livingston-Gray | John K. Sawers

Guest Starring:

Kim Vanderspek: @kvdspek

Show Notes:

02:03 – Kim’s Superpower: Being able to solve puzzles and problems and teaching others to do the same.

05:39 – Speaking and Teaching Math

11:44 – Using Technology to Visualize Math: Quilting, Sewing, Playdough, Boxes

13:53 –  Incorporating Programming Into Math Classes


16:01 – Specialization and Efficiency

23:38 –  

27:06 – Talking About Process, Mistakes, and Failures

34:56 –Teaching Problem Solving and Failure

39:08 – Perseverance Over Content

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Coraline: Show your work.


Sam: The value of perspective.

Jessica: To be perfect, it has to be repeatable for particular people in a particular context.

John: Obstacles parallelisms. Fail first, learn from the failure, get better. But planning for that is integral.

Kim: Productive failure, trial and error, and doing beautiful things.

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