posted message: I've come to believe that a big problem with math learning is the lack of big ideas & essential questions which recognise hot button issues from the students' side. But this Intel source ( has pointed me in a useful direction. One of their starting questions is "Are fractions really important in the world or would we be better off without them?" I love the way it opens a channel to the visceral level of the kid for whom repeating the same old cookie and pie analogies just doesn't work. As frustration grows, so does disconnection from the real life value of these skills. A renewed sense of 'why' & meeting emotional and practical needs first may help kids risk reinvesting in the hard stuff of tackling the procedures again.