Saturday, November 6, 2010

Introduction

Teaching high school mathematics for the last thirteen years I have been looking for ways to make the subject interesting for students.  I have noticed that at the secondary level students seemed to be turned off from learning math especially at the higher levels.  One of the reasons for this is because most of the time students do not understand the importance of some of the math topics throughout history or how the topics are used in the world.  During the last three years I started researching the history of math and how mathematicians where able to change the course of human history.  Also, while teaching geometry for the last five years and also owning a home that needs work done from time to time, I am able to relate a lot of the topics in geometry to the work around the house.  For example, when teaching how to calculate the areas of parallelograms and trapezoids I use the example of when I had to replace my roof on my house.  It so happens that the part of the roof above the kitchen is a trapezoid and if I did not calculate the area correctly I would have bought too much or not enough material to complete the job.  This is only one example of what I like to do in my classroom.  I feel that if students can make a connection to something that they can see or if there is an interesting story on how the history of mankind was changed because of math theories then it increases the students’ willingness to learn.

If you have an interesting story on how you are able to relate a math topic to the real world or if you have some story that you tell while teaching, please post a description on what it is or how you teach the topic.  If you have a topic that you would like to see if there is anyway to make it interesting to the students, please post a question and hopefully myself or someone else will post a response.

3 comments:

  1. I like the reference to Duck Soup. Look up the definition of "embed code" and then see if you can use embed codes to put in a live action video into your blog.

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  2. I also teach math and totally agree with you on the fact that we need to show students the real life application of what we are doing in the classroom.
    We are beginning our study on linear functions and slope this week and we are going on a "slope walk." We first discuss the concept of slope and then go for a walk around the school(inside and outside) looking for examples of slope. Students divide their paper into four sections for each of the four types of slope (positive, negative, undefined and 0 slope.)They then list all of their examples in the proper category. I usually have a little treat for the student who finds the most in the allotted time.
    The students love getting out of the classroom and also get see how slope is used in the real world.

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  3. I will try and get the video from Duck Soup on the Blog, thank you for the comment.

    To judithbuzzell,

    Try and use the % grade on rosd sign. It gives a great idea on how slope is used not only by law but by people who drive for a living.

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