Like many high school math teachers, I often hear "when are we going to have to use this in real world?", "math sucks," and "math is boring." While I always research the practical applications of the topic being taught (anticipating the question), some students still do not see the applicability to "their" world. It is then when I talk to them about the importance of problem solving and thinking analytically. Companies value these traits in employees. Along with teaching the skills, my hidden agenda is to make students like math or at least understand it and not be "math-phobic," like so many Americans.

Here are the ways I try to make it fun:

*Computer program through Carnegie Learning, Inc. - provides them with opportunities to solve real-world problems

*Classroom Performance System - "clickers"; Every student gets a remote and a question is projected. They all click in their answer and immediate feedback is given on how many chose A, B, C, and D. This allows me to quickly fix any misunderstandings on the problem. You can also enter numbers for answers.

*Interactive Whiteboard - I use this to project PowerPoints and to write on it like a chalkboard. I know there are a ton of interactive features and virtual manipulative websites that would further enhance my teaching. Do you have any resources or sites you would be willing to share?

My questions to you are as follows: What do you do to make math, at the high school level, fun? How do you get your students involved and eager to learn? Students must be active in their learning, not passive. How do you achieve that? How do you balance the "fun" with the learning? What kind of ways do you review? Do you do math projects on certain skills? If so, how?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Kaila Soltez

Views: 82

Comment by Sebastian Panakal on September 5, 2011 at 11:13pm

Thank you for sharing this Kaila. We are on the same wavelength I feel. I teach Vedic Mathematics, a simple system developed by Indian sages to teach basic arithmetic to illiterate peasants..


I could be a Skype guest lecturer for your group of students too. You may add me as a contact on Skype. My skype name: sebastianpanakal


Comment by Dan Stone on August 20, 2012 at 8:08pm

Hi Kaila,

I am far from an expert, but what I am trying to do more of in my classroom is pose open questions and give tasks that are accessible to all students.  My goal is to ask questions that, when put broadly enough, allow every student (and not just those who study every night) to have access to a strategy to solve the problem.

When doing volume in geometry, for example, I explain how my room will be used for storage over the summer for all of the school's books.  I show them a sample box, and then I ask them how many they can find.  The students then have the time to go around the room in their groups and do whatever they would like to try to find a solution.  Those students who need more of a challenge can easily be accommodated by adding tweaks (factor for irregular shape of the room, ask about adding 'walkways' between the boxes, etc.).  We come back together at the end of the class to discuss strategies used, and the discussion segues directly into working with volume.

It's tough, and I am sure I will have some misses along with successes this year, but the broad question tasks that let students exercise their own intuition and use trial-and-error seem to engage students at all levels.  If you know or try any of such tasks, please let me know!


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