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Dr. Tony McCaffrey

Teacher at Eagle Hill School

Recent Posts

Our Innovative Students Are What the World Needs

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

The desire to hire people who look at problems differently is growing. The Harvard Business Review published a 2017 article, Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage , which discussed how a growing number of companies are now changing their hiring practices. These businesses were finding that people with learning differences had some incredible skills that the companies badly needed but very few people with learning differences were actually making it through the interview process. As part of their changes, these companies were also providing assistance to these new hires to help them with some of their weaker skills.

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Create Like a Mathematician?!

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

Most students do not think of mathematicians as being creative. Math was created long ago, so their story goes. Geometry was created 2,300 years ago; algebra 1,200 years ago; and calculus 350 years ago. No math has been created since long ago, they speculate.

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Mobile Algebra

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

In a previous blog about Emoji Algebra, I presented the idea of using pictures (i.e., emojis) for variables. I will now add to that idea by using the physical structure of a mobile to represent the balance (i.e., equality) that must take place between the two sides of an equation.

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Math Games Help Students Who Struggle with Dyscalculia

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

Inspired by the game Settlers of Catan, I constructed a game-world that requires using math as the players manage their crops, livestock, natural resources, and defenses. Thus was born Skellig, in which each player manages an island—or skellig, using an Irish word for rocky island.

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Emoji Algebra Is More Intuitive than Standard Algebra

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

Students of mine who have great difficulty with algebra have little problem solving the puzzle below, which uses pictures of food instead of standard variables (i.e., x, y, and z). (The solution is at the end of this blog.) Further, two of my current summer students are a 3rd grader and a 4th grader and they can also solve the food puzzle below, even though they are at least two years away from studying algebraic equations in school.

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“Are Schools Smart Enough to Know How Smart Students Are?”

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

In “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?,” Frans de Waal discusses how the study of animal cognition is recently breaking free of lumping diverse animals into one category and judging them on one dimension of intelligence. Before this recent shift, researchers would often give the same puzzles to diverse species without any accommodations. For example, chimps easily use long sticks to reach up for elevated food, but elephants do not. Are chimps therefore smarter than elephants? Not if you notice that an elephant does not pick up sticks with the tip of its trunk because the stick would block its nasal passage. Replace the stick with a sturdy box and the elephant will kick the box into position so it can stand on it to retrieve the food.

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How to Make Math Fun for Students Who Struggle with Learning Disabilities

Written by Dr. Tony McCaffrey Teacher at Eagle Hill School

"Spy Hacking" Game Brings Algebra to Life

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What is Learning Diversity about?

Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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