For many students, mathematics is one of the most difficult subjects during their schooling. For many, it is one of the easiest subjects where they look forward to scoring better marks and improve their grades.
We will discuss how maths can be made easy to understand and how their fear can be turned into liking. Many students feel nervousness and have negative emotions on opening maths book or thinking about maths.
Children are diverse in their mathematical thinking, interests, and strengths. Many students focus on memorizing by rote. A meaningful and open-ended lesson can make math easy to understand to all students.
Teachers should integrate science, engineering, technology, and art in mathematics lessons. Further teachers can use project-based learning by taking real-life problems. Like the football field is a rectangle, but the cricket field is oval.
Teachers can form small groups of students and assign them to measure the perimeter of the table, their desk, classroom or playground.
They can make students think deeply. Give them blocks of different shapes like triangle, rectangle, square, circle, or semicircle that is to be fitted on the given board.
Practical uses of distance (from classroom to principal’s office, from school building to main gate), time (calculating time to run from one point to another by different students), calculating costs (one kg of fruits cost 20 bucks, how much it will cost if you buy three kgs) and other innovative and practical ways will generate interest of students towards mathematics.
Teachers can meet local architect for inspiration and feedback. From architect, teachers can obtain models of different shapes like cone, pyramids, prism, cylinders etc.
Teachers can set up time with the principal or other teachers so that students can present their ideas and views.
The teacher can make maths appealing and significant by answering a simple question why? Students will get interested if they come to know the importance of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The teacher can ask few questions before introducing students to new concepts of maths. When, where and how they can use maths skill in the real world? What will happen if they do not know addition/subtraction? How multiplication/division can make their life easier.
The teacher can create a bulletin board and tell students to write on the topic why maths is important in life. It is a play way method and students should be allowed to write their thoughts freely. The teacher should analysis what students have written. If needed, she can change her approach or style to teach maths.
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In a play way method, the teacher can start with a story. There were five sparrows sitting on a wall three more sparrows sat next to them. How many sparrows are sitting on the wall? Wait for different answers. Continue further, if four sparrows flew away to bring food, how many sparrows are sitting on the wall. Instead of five plus three minus four equals what?
Each student can be told to make a maths journal or workbook where he/she records all the activities for which they will be accountable. This helps students develop organizational skills. This journal can be shown to parents during a parent-teacher meeting about what their ward is learning, mastering and progressing.
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By integrating these learning opportunities teachers can get in touch with more learners and also change student’s perception of maths. It will help increase students inquisitiveness, flexibility, and attentiveness.