I find that students do not understand why they are in school. They have been programmed to think that their job in school is to do whatever the teacher says. They have become modern day slaves with no purpose to their work. Trying to break that mold and thought process is not easy. Here is one little activity I tried yesterday with my 8th grade:
1. Write down three problems that would be easy for an 8th grader or end of the year 7th grader to do
2. Write down two problems that would be more difficult for you to do. These two problems are not scary, but will take some thinking
3. Write down one problem that is solvable, but would be a challenge for you.
4. Circle or star one of the first three
5. Circle or star one of the second two
6. Think and answer to yourself, "What makes the first one easy and the second one more difficult?"
7. Share this information with at least two people around you
8. Why does it matter that we explore what makes a problem easy or hard?
9. Why did I ask you to do this activity? (This is the kicker. Their answers scared me)