The only way to understand mathematics is to be thorough with the concepts in math. Unfortunately for our students not many of their teachers teach accordingly, leading to the students being more interested in simply knowing the ‘how’ of a problem rather than the ‘why’. But math should be taught for life and not exams. So here are a few a few ideas on how you can get your students to master mathematical concepts.
Irrational numbers have always been a challenge to the students of mathematics. But they needn’t really be. All you need are the right methods to unravel these numbers that don’t seem to make sense. And one of the best methods to investigate irrational numbers is the proof by contradiction method.
When math is confined to the four walls of the classroom, not only does it seem boring but children do not understand its purpose in their lives either. Therefore, it is necessary, once in a while, to leave the comforts of your classroom and do things a little differently. Maybe hold math expos, showcasing the link between math and life.
Children learn a lot when you leave them to explore things on their own. They retain concepts when they discover on their own rather than when an adult tells them something over and over again. Technology is a wonderful aid to the learning of mathematics. Provide children with the appropriate software and the freedom to probe and you will find them well on their way to learning.
Technology should no longer be an occasional aid in the teaching of mathematics. Teachers should by now realize that it is a tool that they can and should be using every day. During teacher training and professional development courses, teachers should be trained in the ‘how’ of using technology to teach math and made aware of subject specific software as well.
Asking questions is the best way for students to learn and when teachers ignore these questions, students stop learning. By not acknowledging and stopping to answer students’ questions, often teachers lose precious opportunities to teach, clarify and help students understand. Teachers always have to be alert and grab these opportunities in the classroom.
The study of math instills in you one very important life skill – that of problem solving. Of course this is not a skill that you develop solving the routine “word problems” given in textbooks. As a responsible teacher, foster a culture of solving non-routine problems in the classroom and challenge your students to find not one but many ways to solve a problem.
Rational functions: Calculations of Body Mass Index – BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. You can play with data here. For e.g., you can ask to calculate the maximum height a person considered obese will reach (given the weight of the obese person).
With advances in every field, the world is becoming more and more seamless. Knowledge of one subject is helping people unravel mysteries in another subject. Schools should adapt to this new emerging society and teach subjects not in isolation but see how one subject can ease the understanding of another. Here is an example of how the knowledge of biology can help in understanding math and vice-versa to prove the case in point.
This is the story of how a tinker shed, a maker space in a school transformed into a math laboratory as children discovered the world of geometry while learning to make origami models. Is there a lesson in this for math teachers everywhere?
Jayasree S and R. Ramanujam
Can board games enhance the mathematization abilities in children? With proper guidance from the teacher, they most certainly can. Teachers have to be careful in choosing the board games and they should be able to provide the right kind of impetus to allow mathematical explorations by the children even as they are playing the game. Read on to find out how an ancient game of strategy – pallankuzhi – threw up a few opportunities to mathematize.