Tuesday, April 2, 2013

So, your students hate math...?

By Savannah Hill, RME Professional Development Coordinator and Erica Simon, RME Project Specialist

Maybe I am the only math teacher that ever had at least three students (times a lot) tell me they hated math. I like to believe that one reason is that they had never had anyone put math into context for them. I did everything I could to be a resource for my students and to put math into context, but sometimes, it is difficult. So, where do you look to find resources for the resource?

These days, it seems to be YouTube, Twitter, and Google to name a few.

I found a great website on Twitter that many teachers would find very helpful to introduce to their students. Its called Numberphile.
As one of the first original series funded by YouTube, Numberphile presents "videos about numbers and stuff." The videos present mathematical concepts in a captivating and well explained way using intelligent questioning and editing.

For example, take this video, "Calculating Pi with Pies." The measuring unit is an actual pie. They determine how many pies it takes to calculate the circumference and diameter of a large circle drawn on the ground. Through modeling the formula circumference divided by diameter (C/d), the quotient is approximately 3.14 or pi! This visual representation is a great way of putting math into context.

Many students hate math because they don't see how it is used in the real world, don't like how it is taught, or just don't get it. Numberphile can be a fantastic resource for bell ringers, test problems, or a math project-based learning activity in a classroom. Parents can also introduce it to their children as a fun way to explore mathematical concepts!

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