Teaching Students to Love the Value of Math

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Mathematics, what a beautiful subject. It requires inquisitiveness, perseverance, and critical thinking. It promotes discourse, challenges the mind, and creates problem-solvers. Unfortunately, it also scares many students and adults. Why is that? How can one subject cause so much joy and at the same time so much discomfort?

As a high school mathematics teacher for 13 years, I was always nervous on the first day of school. My number-one concern was this: how was I going to help my students appreciate the math concepts I had to offer? I knew that at least one student was going to walk into class and proclaim that he or she disliked math. My mission? Change that student's mind.

Math is everywhere. As teachers, we  must show students how useful math is. Here are three ways to do just that.

1. Increase the use of data in the classroom. Our Data Depot provides 30+ data sets covering topics such as population, disease, transportation, and food. Presented in a spreadsheet format, this resource lets Curriculum Pathways students examine, analyze, explore, and compare data.

datadepot

Data Depot provides a wide variety engaging data in multiple spreadsheet formats.

2. Increase the use of technology. Transformations is a concept that is best understood when students can “see” the changes. In Curriculum Pathways, Exploring Transformations makes that possible. Teachers can present the concepts of translating, reflecting, rotating, and dilating segments and figures. With the click of the mouse, teachers can choose to show or not show the image, thus giving students an opportunity to envision the result of the transformation and then quickly see the change.

transformations

With Exploring Transformations students can investigate translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations on a coordinate plane.

3. Increase cooperative learning opportunities. Using activities that require students to discuss content within a group not only promotes communication skills, but also lets anxious students showcase their knowledge (or lack thereof). Using a lesson such as Mean and Median: Are They Stable? as a cooperative learning activity allows students to discover how values in a data set affect its mean and median.

Be sure to check out our 300+ math resources, including these:

Exploring Graphs of Linear Equations
Exploring Systems of Linear Inequalities
Using Data to Make Good Decisions
Fibo-Nature Numbers

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About Author

Staci Lyon

Staci Lyon is a mathematics curriculum specialist with Curriculum Pathways. She taught high school mathematics for 12 years in Wake County and Granville County. She also taught with North Carolina Virtual Public School. She received both a M.Ed. degree in Instructional Technology and a B. S. degree in Mathematics Education from North Carolina State University. Working alongside a team, she enjoys developing the award winning online math resources for Curriculum Pathways that allow teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

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