Monthly Archives: April 2012

How to develop math anxiety

I recommend watching this video on how to produce math anxiety. All 10 of his "tips" are good starters for conversations on what to avoid in mathematics classrooms.

The Math Emporium – The Walmart of Higher Education

  I recently learned of a massive project at Virginia Tech called the Math Emporium. Here’s a quote from the original article. The Emporium is the Wal-Mart of higher education, a triumph in economy of scale and a glimpse at a possible future of computer-led learning. Eight thousand students a year take introductory math in […]

Research on the effectiveness of real world problems in math education

From the National Mathematics Advisory Council of 2008 final report: The use of “real-world” contexts to introduce mathematical ideas has been advocated, with the term “real world” being used in varied ways. A synthesis of findings from a small number of high-quality studies indicates that if mathematical ideas are taught using “real-world” contexts, then students’ […]

Open-ended problems in elementary school mathematics

I’m hoping to find (or potentially build, given how well my search is going) some open-ended problems appropriate for elementary school math classes. By open-ended problems, I mean problems which: do not have an obvious solution, require some time to figure out, have multiple solutions, may require some assumptions are made by the students, are […]

No one burns themselves twice

Well, okay, some people do burn themselves twice, but hardly anyone. The message is loud and clear, touch the stove and you get burnt, which hurts. There are lots of other things in life people learn the first time. I was mouthing off in class one time about how much I hated the school newspaper, […]

First the work, and then the theory

I love this quote shared by Gary Stager via the Daily Papert. “They first learn engineering, then from there they progress to learning the ideas behind it, and then they learn the mathematics. This would be inventing, it’s a little probe toward inventing a different kind of content. It’s not a different way of teaching; […]

Learning mathematical ideas through literature

I looked through our school library today to see if we had any books which would tell mathematical narratives, and I found the following collection. Some of these stories are more "mathy" than others, but each of them has a narrative written around a mathematical concept. Some of these stories could be used to develop […]

On incentives in the teaching profession

So I read some interesting research on student incentive progams which has a couple of very important paragraphs. Here’s the abstract: This paper describes a series of school-based randomized trials in over 250 urban schools designed to test the impact of financial incentives on student achievement. In stark contrast to simple economic models, our results […]

Converting degrees to radians

One of my students came up (with some help) this procedure for converting between degrees and radians. Memorize the fact that 60° is π/3 and that 30° is π/6. Note that 10° is therefore π/18 and that similarly 1° is π/180. You can then take any degree measure and convert it by converting the number […]

Automaticity in programming and math

I’ve been learning how to program for a long time, a task that has much in common with mathematics. Both programming and mathematics involve being able to solve problems. Some of the problems in programming and mathematics have well established solutions and other problems do not. On a micro-level, programming involves manipulating code, a task […]