I absolutely loved the Ted Talk by Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover. I have always had an interest in math but I think I am one of the few. Most students are forced to learn math even though they hate it. Teachers need to come up with a more engaging and fun ways to teach it.
Meyer talks about the 5 reasons students struggle with math:
1. lack of initiative
2. lack of perseverance
3. lack of retention
4. aversion to word problems
5. eagerness for formula
He shows samples of math problems from text books. He explains how there is too much information for each questions. Students don’t ever get hooked. He likes to create a discussion around just the picture at first. Sometimes he even makes a video for the word problem. For example: He asks the question “How long does it take to fill up this container with water?” Then he shows a video of a hose inside a clear container and the kids watch how painfully slow it fills up. He stops the video at some point and lets the kids discuss their predictions before any math is used. He then introduces the math content and formula needed for this type of problem. After the students have done the math, they watch the rest of the video to check their work! I think this is brilliant. It really gets the kids engaged.. and shows that math can be applied to everyday life.
His 5 tips for making math more enjoyable were:
1. use multimedia
2. encourage student intuition
3. ask the shortest questions possible
4. let students build the problem
5. be less helpful
I had never thought about teaching math in this way but i love it! Why should students dread learning about math? Meyer has done an excellent job showing how engaging a math lesson can be!