Growing up I was never inclined to math problems. However, I greatly enjoyed solving other problems such as how much mud and water I should mix together to create the right consistency for my mud pies. And so on.
Although problem solving is a natural and every day process, I was never really able to connect the rudimentary concepts to my math pages. The conversion chart between the rainbows in the sky, and the white pages of math books was non-existent. Or so I thought.
Now, as a prospective teacher, tutor and student I find there is great number of things in common between all things Sherlock Holmes and all things grid and paper.
I may be far from expert on such things as logical fallacies and syllogisms, but I sure can spot a red herring chasing the strawman up a fast flowing river. If you catch my drift.
Sometimes, I enjoy watching the Fox News channel just to see if I can catch one of those gorgeous newscasters making a part to whole argument. Because, you know, if one of them makes a mistake, they all do. Right? Ok, not really.
Back to the algebra premise: so algebra is part of everyday living. And it’s taken me too many years to actually see it.
While teaching one of my students how to read and cypher algebraic word problems I came across a new thought: why not use the tangible to describe the intangible.
Oftentimes, those who struggle with math are naturally artistic, creative people, thusly it concludes that using pictures or drawings to illustrate a math problem would actually help, not hinder their dominantly right-sided mind.
The second thing I’ve learned about tutoring/teaching math is that those who struggle with multiplication tables and fractions may have an easier time understanding higher math. That’s weird. But believe me it weirdly works.
So I tested this on my youngest math student. She’s 12 years old and she can’t remember her tables to save her life. But recently I’ve tried presenting real life scenarios such as: draw a dress on a rack with a price tag. And add a sale to the price tag. Then find the percentage of the sale from the original price of the dress and subtract. If you can believe this, I think she REALLY enjoyed going shopping with her pen and paper.
Don’t put a name on the level of math you are trying to complete.
Don’t tell the student, “Hurry up with this page, you’re only getting through fractions, when you should be doing algebra.” Likewise, don’t tell a younger student who should only be doing fraction that you are actually teaching them geometry.
These are just a few new approaches to tutoring/teaching math to secondary level students. I sort of stumbled on most of these tips myself. Believe it or not.
What has life told you about the things you don’t like? Have you found a way to enjoy the things you don’t naturally favor?