Socratic method to teach 3rd graders binary arithmetic

I recently learned that UBS, the large Swiss bank, has something called the Q-Series that is inspired by the Socratic method of using questions to probe the depths of “truth”, or at least knowledge, in their case about investment-related things.  (You must be a client to see the Q-Series reports.)

Of course this made me curious about the Socratic method, which led me to a fascinating description of one man’s use of the method with a typical 3rd grade class to lead them into understanding the binary, or base-two, system of math.  No one thought it would be possible, but by simply asking the right questions, in the right order, he got almost the whole class to a point of actually seeing this different system of counting and arithmetic.  Read Rick Garlikov’s description here.


2 responses to “Socratic method to teach 3rd graders binary arithmetic

  1. That was pretty good teaching method.( I LOVE IT!)If it worked on 19 out of 22 kids. can a 2nd grader get it as well?

  2. I guess it would depend on what kind of math foundation they already have–do they know about Roman numbers and some of the other concepts that the teacher refers to in his questions? Or maybe this could be adapted for them even if they don’t.

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