# Lesson Study: A Japanese Approach to Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning

By Clea Fernandez; Makoto Yoshida | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

WHY STUDY LESSON STUDY?

During an early afternoon in September 2000 we observed eight Japanese teachers as they sat around a table in their school's staff room planning together a lesson, which was to be the initial lesson in a 12-lesson unit entitled “proportions. ” In this lesson students would be exploring the idea that variables can covary and would come to see the distinction between linear and nonlinear relationships. Here is a brief excerpt from the 2-hour discussion that these teachers had on that day:

T1: We want students to come up with examples from their daily lives. The issue is, how should we phrase the question so that students can generate varied examples? Mr. Hirano, how did you teach this lesson last year?

T3: I used pictures … for example I showed a picture of a car on a highway. First the students came up with the notion of time and distance. But when I gave them more time, more diverse ideas came up, such as energy consumption and distance.

T1: So the point was to use a picture to imagine a change in quantity. Okay, any other ideas? First let's just come up with different approaches, let's just exchange ideas.

T4: … Students have made potato chips at school. The color of each chip is different so we could ask why the colors of these chips are different. The answers could vary form time in the oil, the temperature of the oil, etc. We could discuss how as one of these things changes, the color changes.

T1: So how would you phrase the question: There are many potato

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