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Growth Mindset: vocabulary; Neuron Fire at the Nelsons 4


Neuron Fire at the Nelsons'

  1. Isaiah Nelson bounded up the steps to his apartment and flung open the door.
  2. “Mom!” he called, carefully setting a hard black case on the entry table. “Guess what?”
  3. “She’s not here,” Tiana yelled, passing their screaming baby brother, Zion, to Isaiah. “Remember, she’s working the late shift? It’s your turn. He’s been fed—his stomach is just upset. I need to go do some homework. I have to write a page about growth mindset because I told my math teacher that I will never be able to learn how to divide fractions. Can you believe it—a whole page?”
  4. Isaiah bounced Zion on his hip, and Zion’s screams settled to a dull roar. “What’s growth mindset?” he asked.
  5. “It’s basically when a person has a good attitude and the fact that if they’re determined enough they can learn anything. It’s when a person sees failures as stepping stones to later successes. It’s based on scientific studies that show you can change your intelligence if you exercise your brain,” replied Tiana. Then added, “We’ve been learning about it at school.”
  6. “I don’t get it,” said Isaiah.
  7. “It works like this,” said Tiana. “Your brain has a bunch of neurons in it—like billions of neurons. Neurons are nerves. They send messages within the brain, and to other parts of the body. When you think about something, neurons fire and form connections with other neurons. The more you practice and struggle with something, the more neurons fire and make paths to each other—and the smarter you get. My math teacher keeps saying I need to have a growth mindset about math—that I just need to dig deep, find some grit, and power through my struggles. He says I need to develop a habit of looking at failure not as the end of something, but rather the beginning . . . but math is so frustrating!”
  8. Isaiah considered what Tiana said, then smiled when he remembered the black case. “Would you like Zion back? Because if you don’t want to work on math, I would like to exercise my brain on something new.” Isaiah pointed to the entryway table.
  9. “What’s that?” asked Tiana.
  10. “It’s a flute!” said Isaiah, passing the crabby baby back to his sister. “There’s a new band program because our school just got a bunch of donated instruments—here let me show you.”
  11. Isaiah carefully opened the velvet-lined flute case and put the silver pieces of the instrument together. As soon as he blew gently into the mouthpiece, Zion stopped whining.
  1. “Well, look at that!” said Tiana, placing the captivated Zion in the baby bouncer. “I think we can both grow our brains. You devote the next thirty minutes to playing the flute and entertaining Zion, and I will go write my growth mindset page so that I can . . . um . . . try to think about my math challenges in a better way.”
Read the sentence from the story.
“My math teacher keeps saying I need to have a growth mindset about math—that I just need to dig deep, find some grit, and power through my struggles.”
The word grit means