Friday, September 07, 2007

Win-win math teaching

"We underestimate children by assuming that they will only enjoy learning concepts that have obvious physical models or applications. While I would encourage a teacher to serve pieces of pie or pizza to their class to illustrate a point about fractions, this is not the only way to get kids interested in math. Children will happily play a game with numbers or mathematical symbols, even if it has no obvious connections to the everyday world, as long as the game presents a series of interesting challenges, has clear rules and outcomes, and if the person playing the game has a good chance of winning. Children are born to solve puzzles: in my experience, they are completely happy at school if they are allowed to exercise their minds and to show off to a caring adult. What children hate most is failure. They generally find mathematical rules and operations boring only because those things are often poorly taught, without passion, in a manner that produces very few winners." --John Mighton, JUMP Math: Teacher's Manual for the Fractions Unit (Second Edition), copyright 2005, JUMP Math.

1 comment:

Betty Canuck said...

Oh, very good quote!

Sometimes I lack imagination in this department though! lol!

For us, variation in math is flash drill cards, Mom generated work sheets, MUS work page, Calculadder's Drill page, playing Monopoly (addition and subtraction), and singing math facts.

But in my defence they both 'get' math so... I don't have to work too hard finding other ways.

We just need to work on their fluency.