Motivating students in mathematics
Name: rick a cazzato
Date: Around 1995
As a mathematics teacher, I am able to communicate the concepts to my
students very well. One problem that I have is motivating the students too.
Would you have any suggestions or experiences that I would be able to use?
How would you motivate students in a pre-calculus honors course? How would
you make trigonometry and other advanced mathematics topics interesting to
them and practical?
OK, you are right . . . was not much of an answer, was it? I must be slip-
ping. When I was in high school, I took a course in trigonometry. Rather
than simply have us learn the properties of triangles and then give us lots
of problems to solve, in addition my math teacher gave us projects. Somehow
he got hold of some surveying equipment for his class to use. He divided us
up into groups and had us do various surveying projects, using the trigonom-
etry we had learned to get the answers. There were several projects, the
easiest of which was to determine the height of various trees and buildings,
and the hardest (and most interesting) of which was to survey the floor of
our gymnasium to see whether it was level or not. In fact, the gym had been
sinking at one end over a period of years. Using our data and the data from
trigonometry students of several years past, the teacher was able to go to
the school board and PROVE to them that the gym was sinking and needed
attention. As a result, the gym was rebuilt.
Need I mention that the teacher was also the basketball coach?
That was the best math class I ever had.
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Update: June 2012