5 Ways to Get Excited about Teaching Math Beyond 5th Grade
If math is pushing your buttons, reconsider your perspective. Math beyond the elementary years can be creative, inspiring, and even fun.
Rethink the Classroom
Finally, an answer to that inevitable question: “But how will you teach your child calculus?” Wherever you are in your math timeline, you’ll appreciate the existence of MOOCulus, a massive open online course created by Ohio State University mathematics professor Jim Fowler that’s totally reimagining the way people learn higher math.
A New Math Philosophy
Getting the right answer is not always the point of math, says math teacher Dan Meyer in the TED Talk Math Class Needs a Makeover. If we make fill-in-the-blanks teaching the cornerstone of a kid’s education, of course that kid is going to hate math. Meyer suggests we shift focus to math reasoning, emphasizing fig- uring out how to solve a problem over filling in the right bubble.
Throw Away the Textbook
Can’t find the right curriculum? Why not skip that textbook altogether? Sarah Hagan, an Ohio math teacher, has students DIY their own math text- books each year from scratch, using a wild mix of materials (including origami and lots of doodles). Hagan says it makes math more personal and helps kids remember what they’ve learned.
Shift Your Emphasis
“I don’t see how it’s doing society any good to have its members walking around with vague memories of algebraic formulas and geometric diagrams, and clear memories of hating them.” writes mathematician Paul Lockhart in “A Mathematician’s Lament.” This essay is an impassioned criticism of classroom math and its negative lifetime effects on so many students.
Embrace Your Inner Genius
NPR’s Math Guy Keith Devlin thinks math is everywhere—and we learn it best not in a classroom but out in the real world, doing real-life math and observing real-life math-ing in nature. If you’re feeling math-insecure, boost your confidence with Devlin’s The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs).
This list is excerpted from our Summer Boot Camp Guide in the summer 2016 issue of HSL.