Motivating Math Students ```Name: Tahjna Status: student Age: N/A Location: N/A Country: N/A Date: N/A ``` Question: How do I motivate students to learn mathematics? Replies: Tahjna, Each class and each student is different, but, in general, I have found that people respond to education if it appeals to an item of interest in the student. If a class or student is interested in sports, create lesson plans using examples of probability (horse-racing), or averages (baseball statistics) For a class/student interested in music, cite examples involving meter and time signature (this helps understand fractions) For a class interested in current news, take a newspaper and discuss cost of living, interest rates, stock prices... Bottom line, use topics the children can relate to and they will see value in learning the (sometimes ) more boring rudiments of mathematics. Thanks for using NEWTON! Ric Rupnik In my experience, two factors tend to increase students' interest in mathematics. One is the teachers' enthusiasm and competence. The other, somewhat related to the first, is the presentation of everyday problems in such a way that their solutions necessitate introduction of new topics in math. Indeed, this is the way mathematical concept and techniques have been developed. Throwing mathematical techniques and methodologies at the student and then trying to solve problems using these, in my view, is not productive. Problems should lead to solution techniques and not the other way around. Additionally, students may better relate to mathematics if the teacher includes some historical information as to when, how, and why a technique was developed. This tends to tie in "conceptual" ideas with the real world people and problems. AK Ali Khounsary, Ph.D. Advanced Photon Source Argonne National Laboratory There are countless ways...however, I would say the best place to start is by connecting your lessons to their everyday experiences. For example, if you are teaching the "FOIL" method, bring in some aluminum foil as an aid to remembering the formula. Possibly let them make a shape out of the foil -- using geometry...Good Luck Katie Page I think it is important to communicate the awesomeness of numbers and mathematics. An accessible subject for doing this, I believe, is number theory. For example, the Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13... And behold the ratio of the [nth +1] / nth number in the sequence is (1+sqrt(5))/2. And the sequence pops up many places in physics, biology and math! Then there is the little book "On Size and Form" I recall the title is gives numerous illustrations of how "things in nature" are governed by mathematical relations. In my opinion the more abstract "stuff" can wait. Vince Calder Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives

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