In Antigua, Guatemala, for a workshop

“I think I can be a friend of mathematics and enjoy them.”

These are the words of a teacher who earlier in the day felt “kind of confused and unmotivated.” Partnering with the non-profit organization Common Hope, I invited Carlos Lopez Levia and Karen Rothschild to conduct a two-day workshop with me for about 25 teachers in Antigua, Guatemala. We worked in groups and laughed with each other as we explored what it means to teach and learn mathematics.

We made some great mathematical discoveries. For instance, did you know that you can determine if a number is divisible by 4 if you look at the tens and ones digits? Well, the Antigua teachers found a strategy that none of us North American facilitators had ever seen before. Here’s how it works….

If the tens digit is odd, then the ones digit must be either 2 or 6. So, 27,376 is divisible by 4 but 394 is not. However, if the tens digit is even, then the ones digit must be 0, 4, or 8. Get it? They also made some pretty cool discoveries about multiples of 5.

We finished the workshop with everyone sitting in a circle to share some things they learned and how those insights might inform their instruction. One teacher reported feeling like the two days “changed my point of view and the way I perceive the math.” To be honest, the Guatemala teachers also changed our point of view. We thought we were arriving as the “experts,” but we learned just as much as we taught. One of most special things about serving on a T2T-I trip is what you learn from the friends you make around the world!

–By Chadd McGlone

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