Posts Tagged ‘boring’

h1

6. You’re either Good at Maths or You’re Not

September 20, 2017

The Complaint:  

You’re either Good at Maths or You’re Not!………………

………………………………………………………………………….

The Cause:

Most students who said “I can’t do maths’ when I was teaching, didn’t do maths. They talked, penned a tattoo on their arm. Or scribbled in the text book. Today they read texts or play games on their phones under table or fall asleep.

………………………………………………………………………….

The Solution: 

There is no point arguing. Students must ‘see’ they can do maths.  

Do something that grabs their attention, something counterintuitive. Here is one of the BEST revision projects ever for middle school maths students. Remember, the best way to learn something is to teach it.

………………………………………………………………………………….


 

Project MATHS SLAM WORKSHEET plain txt PDF

Project MATHS SLAM WORKSHEET plain txt USA PDF

………………………………………………………………………….

Project Maths Slam

Project Maths Slam USA TERMS

Advertisements
h1

Maths isn’t TOO HARD; it’s TOO BORING, Sir!

January 15, 2016

Lego Mathspig 2

Hello my little Peeps,

In 2012 The New York Times ran an article by Andrew Hacker titled ‘Is Algebra Necessary?’ The argument was, basically, that too many students find algebra difficult and colleges in America use math results to screen students thus further disadvanting already disadvantaged students. The author had a point. eg. Of all who embark on higher education, only 58 percent end up with bachelor’s degrees. The main impediment to graduation: freshman math.

Perhaps, algebra could be taught in a different way. Mathspig was inspired by New York Grade 3 teacher, Alycia Zimmerman, who uses Lego to teach fractions (See next post) and came up with the following examples.

Lego Mean, Median and Mode

Lego Algebra

But Mathspig has always lerved Lego Maths. Here are just a few examples;

Ratios: Lego Olympics

Ratios: The Rosetta Project Scaled down to a Lego Universe

Other links to Lego Maths.

And while you are doing your Lego Maths you an also use the Lego Template to design your own Lego Figurine.

Screen shot 2016-01-15 at 3.33.52 PM

Download Template here.

Have fun peeps.

Cheerio

Mathspig

 

h1

MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig …………………………………………………. with Kerry Cue

July 31, 2014

Mathspig Politicans maths

Hellooooooooo Sweeties,

Mathspig is always bemused that politicians (all shades), who struggle with maths of the economy, taxes and even their own expense accounts, suddenly become experts on how to teach maths.

Back to Basics is the current catch cry of politicians around the world … to win votes, of course. But what does it mean?:

Back to the 1950s?

With class sizes of 50, student reports stating ‘Margret was 33rd in the grade’ and the ‘strap’ waiting at the ready in the teacher’s desk draw.

Back to the 1960s?

When maths wasn’t taught to girls. (In Year 8 Mathspig went to a convent. The nuns only taught arithmetic.)

Back to the 1970s?

When the school curriculum was seen by some to be class-based patriarchal propaganda. Some schools stopped scoring football games to prevent the elitist paradigm spreading.

Today?

For some Back to Basics means Direct Instruction: a rigid, repetitious form of maths instruction when maths can be so much more. See Beware Maths Fundamentalists

Mathspigs Mission:

To make maths interesting, relevant and fun.

Here are some examples:

RATES:………………………………………………………………….

The Curious Nature of Drummers’ Brains

………………………………………………………………………..

% and LINEAR GRAPH:………………………………………

Hunger Games: How long does it take to bleed to death?

 ………………………………………………………………………..

PARABOLIC EQN:………………………………………………….

Hunger Games:  How much an arrow drops in 100m?

 ………………………………………………………………………..

GEOMETRY:………………………………………………………..

The raising of the Concordia

 ………………………………………………………………………..

PYTHAGORUS:…………………………………………………….

How Radar Works and the Search for a Ghost Ship

………………………………………………………………………..

Cheerio

Mathspig

 

h1

Beware Maths Fundamentalists

July 28, 2014

Louis CK Quote

…………………………………..

Is maths becoming a dead language?

mathspig fractionsIn the 1980’s American restaurant chain A&W were going to kick Mcdonald’s marketing butt. How? Instead of a quarter pounder burger they brought out and promoted a third pounder!!!! The promo failed. Why? Americans didn’t get fractions. More frightening, in Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times ( 23 JUL 2014) was the US study that found 17 percent of medication errors were caused by maths mistakes made by doctors or pharmacists.

Meanwhile students in Australia, USA and the UK are dropping out of maths like flies.

Something is seriously wrong with the way we teach maths.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

Vote 1 Me. (Probably can’t count to 2 anyway.)

vote slip 2

Politicians around the world use education to win votes. We will raise numeracy standards they promise. Of course, this may not help your child, just the state averages.

Nevertheless, Back to Basics concepts are being pushed in the UK, USA and Australia by politicians.

us flagIn 2009 Obama backed “common standards” and “common core” curriculum in maths supported by $USA 4 Billion in grants. (Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014).

.

.

uk flagLater this year a new ‘Back to Basics’ Curriculum will be rolled out in the UK with an emphasis on times tables and mental maths. (Schools must go back to basics to raise maths standards, Graeme Paton, The Telegraph, UK, 18 FEB 2014)

.

aus flagAustralia has introduced a National Curriculum and National Testing (NAPLAN) in numeracy and literacy in recent years. The current government just put up $22 million to back Direct Instruction in Indigenous Schools across Qld, NT and WA (Noel Pearson’s learning engine, Jamie Walker, The Australia, 5 JUL 2014) Direct Instruction is a commercial product involving very rigid and proscriptive Back to Basics curriculum and testing program from National Institute of Direct Instruction based in Eugene, Oregon.

Teachers use strict guidelines and must keep within the program. Eg:

Picture 2

Picture 3……………………………………

Do back to basics programs work?

Maybe. It depends on what you are measuring. Students can improve some maths skills. The work sheets are very clear and that is to be applauded. And so, in time, standards may rise on paper.

But there are still two huge problems.

…………………………………………………………………………….

We have ways of teaching to make you hate maths!!!!

Firstly, there is the McMath Element. Do you want Pythagoras with that quarter pounder? Repetitive, pre-packaged, parrot-style learning is easily forgotten. According to Professor Roediger professor of psychology at Washington Uni ‘effortful, varied practice builds mastery’. (How tests make us smarter, New York Times, 18 Jul 2014).

Secondly, rigid drilling is boring. Students grind through the exercise after exercise being constantly reminded that maths is dry, dull and boring on a coma-inducing scale. Students will, as is the current trend, drop maths as soon as they can.

…………………………………………………………………………. 

 

Why would some kids prefer water boarding to doing maths?

According to Peter Sullivan, Professor of Mathematics Edu at Monash University students drop maths because it is:

not related to the real world,

repetitious,

boring

and restrictive.

See STOP THE PRESS: Maths Teaching Fails

But it is not just students who find maths boring. Teachers who are forced to adopt rigid, repetitive and monotonous prepackaged courses also become disillusioned.

……………………………………….

One size does not fit all and local knowledge counts

Grade 3Elcho Island MapI’m sitting in a Grade 3 classroom in a remote Indigenous School on Elcho Island off the coast of NT. (Last week I ran some fun/creative workshops for staff.) The young enthusiastic teacher (with the help of two indigenous interpreters) was teaching the students to count to 10 and write the numbers from 1 – 10.

Students arrive at school speaking only the local Indigenous language. They must acquire literacy skills in their own language before they are taught English in Grade 4. There is a good deal of catching up to be achieved in numeracy skills. Many Indigenous languages only name the numbers 1, 2, 3 and many. The teachers on the island are familiar with the difficulties facing their students and work hard with empathy and enthusiasm to overcome multiple disadvantages of their students.

Teachers on the island have developed extraordinary resources and creative programs to engage their students in learning maths. Imposing a rigid curriculum regeme like Direct Instruction on Elcho Island schools will further disadvantage the students and also demoralize the dedicated staff.

………………………………

Ways of teaching maths that work

Here are two teaching methods that are not only flexible and fun, they have been proven to work in the classroom.

The Walker Learning Approach

Walker learningKathy Walker is an Australian educator, author and early years curriculum expert. Her books include What’s the Hurry? and Play Matters. The Walker Learning Approach, which is used in many schools around Australia including Elcho Island, is an evidence-based strategy that encourages play-based discovery and learning as well as explicit instruction in numeracy and literature (K – Year 8). More here.

…………………………………………………………….

Magdelene Lampert: Learning by Communication Method

teaching probMagdalene Lampert, until recently professor of education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and author of “Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching , has replaced ‘answer-getting’ with ‘sense-making.(Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014)

She advocates incorporating communication in maths as ‘being able to explain your thinking so that someone else grasps your ideas’ improves your undestanding ( as any teacher knows from their own experiences in front of the classroom.)

…………………………………………………………………………….

LET TEACHERS TEACH

Mathspig Pedagogy

Yeah! MATHS: Guaranteed to be boring one day and scary the next but always a complete waste of time – there’s a product that’s not going to sell.

Let teachers teach. This should be a campaign slogan to put maths teaching back into the hands of the people, who know what is going on in the classroom. Imposing rigid regimes on teachers is counter productive as the teachers become as bored, as angry and as disenfranchised as their students. I mean ‘why bother?’ We need teachers with passion, enthusiasm and creativity to teach maths, not Mathsbots pre-programmed by politicans to win votes.

Politicians do not teach your children. Teachers do. If politicians and the bureaucracy make teachers lives miserable, this misery will be passed onto their students … Your children. There must be checks and balances – and cliches, I guess – but it is the teacher who passes on their love or hatred of maths to your children. If the community gives teachers the chance to teach maths creatively and with humour, they will take up the challenge and your child will benefit.

Mathspig Let Teachers Teach

I was taught by a young and enthusiastic Maths teacher at a small rural hgh school in the sixties. That’s almost 50 years ago – OMG! Don’t do the maths. His name was Barry Underhill.

Mathjspig a gogo 1I’m Mathspig. And I love maths.