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Students Don’t Like Math? Ask the Right Question.

§ February 19th, 2012 § 4 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Math, motivation, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Illustration by Damián Navas

A short article written in a 2006 issue of NCTM’s mathematics journal, Teaching in the Middle School, caught my eye. It was entitled “Some Students Do Not Like Mathematics”. The reasons stated were the same as we have heard for years: “We don’t engage our students,” “Parents are not involved,” “Students don’t know how to expand their thinking when they solve a problem.”

I object to hearing a problem discussed without including at least one concrete solution, and this got me thinking: What solution(s) would I offer if I had written this article.

Of course, my first advice would be to buy an iPad and download the Elevated Math lessons. Most students enjoy math when they watch the videos and work the problems.

But that’s an obvious answer. What else could I say? § Read the rest of this entry…

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A Valentine Gift from Elevated Math

§ February 13th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , , ,

This week we continue with the idea that we MUST engage our kids. Here is one of our favorite cartoons. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The cartoon introduces the Elevated Math algebra lesson entitled, “Solving Systems of Linear Equations by Substitution.” Graphing and elimination are both methods for solving, but substitution is another one. All three methods produce the same solution, but depending upon the problem, one method might be easier. Find this lesson in the iPad app, Elevated Math.

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We MUST Engage Our Kids

§ February 5th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Patrick Reddick

A memory of middle and high school is being stuck in class and daydreaming my time away, full aware that my inability to focus on the droning lesson in front of me would cost me dearly when I had to figure out later how to answer the homework problems. Maybe this is why I made educational films in college and more recently worked with a team to launch Elevated Math, an iPad app that teaches middle school math. Teachers need to do something to engage our kids. We have infinite ways to do this, but for now I’ll touch on four.

1. Passion. Teachers must not only love the subjects they teach, they must be passionate about them. In college, I took a class on existentialism. The instructor would talk an hour in the lecture hall and then, when the hour was over, would invite us to join him in the sculpture garden outside where he would lecture another hour. Everyone followed him. He would speak about each philosopher as if this person held the ultimate truth of life that we each needed to know. No doubt this professor passionately loved his subject. Can we approach our class in the same way, as if we hold a sacred gift of knowledge that we must pass on?

2. Real-world problems. I remember my earth science class when the first photographs of the moon were released. My teacher drove to Washington D.C. (we lived in northern Virginia) and acquired large prints of these maps. § Read the rest of this entry…

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Don’t Be Afraid of Making a Mistake. Flip Your Classroom.

§ January 16th, 2012 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Thomas Favre-Bulle

An article in EdWeek this month by David Ginsburg entitled Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them has prompted this post. The article discusses how traditional teaching methods often deny students the chance to learn from their mistakes. But what about the teachers?  Are they encouraged to make mistakes? Are they willing to take chances with their instruction? Is an unwillingness to create a video to use in a flipped classroom a bigger mistake than failing at the attempt?

In the traditional classroom model the information transfer takes place in class with assimilation of that information taking place outside the class. In an inverted model, as in a flipped classroom, the transfer takes place outside of class (often through online videos) and with assimilation in class.  If implemented correctly, the class can become a robust environment where students work on challenging problems aimed at making sense of what they’ve seen and heard outside of class. Read our earlier blog if you need to know more.

I’ve spent the last couple months talking with teachers, visiting their classrooms, and reading blogs.  I’m convinced schools should head in the direction of the inverted model and they should vigorously pursue the implementation of the flipped classroom.

A teacher I visited outside of Boston had a 6th grade flipped math classroom. It was a fascinating visit. Despite his struggles to keep § Read the rest of this entry…

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Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery

§ January 11th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Other Voices, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you have taught your math students about perimeter and area, if you are ready to present them with an application challenge, and if they are into Pythonesque comedy (Do you know many middle schoolers who are not into the absurd?), consider showing this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

After watching the clip, distribute the activity, “Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery,” for your students to complete.

Applying newly learned math skills in a real-world helps students master those skills instead of just § Read the rest of this entry…

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Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2011

§ December 27th, 2011 § 3 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team, Math, Overcoming Fear, Teaching Math, The Best Posts § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

2011 will forever be significant in Elevated Math history.  Our iPad app was launched along our website and blog.   In Barbara Walters’ fashion, we decided to list the TEN MOST FASCINATING POSTS in 2011.  Oh, ok.  Fascinating is probably not the most accurate adjective, so how about if we list our ten favorites?

  1. Angry Birds Can Teach Math was one of our most popular posts. It showed how to teach parabolas and quadratic equations with the Angry Bird game.  We followed this up with Use Angry Birds to Teach Math Pt 2, which includes a portion of the Elevated Math lesson.
  2. A Case for the Flipped Classroom is a subjective examination of one the hottest ideas for teaching math that came out this year.
  3. Making Math Relevant May Be the Key was also one of our most popular posts. It details how a teacher made math relevant to a class of potential drop-outs. § Read the rest of this entry…
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How to Optimize Your Study Time for the SAT or ACT

§ November 27th, 2011 § 3 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Other Voices, SAT/ACT Test Prep § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Photography by Alberto G.

 

Taking the SAT or ACT may not be the highlight of your senior year of high school, but it certainly ranks near the top of the priority list. Colleges will be shopping for freshmen with high scores, so it is imperative that you optimize your study time so you can get the most out of the experience. Staying at home to study while your friends are “having fun” might seem like a dreadful prospect, but this is a necessity for students to gain familiarity with such a long and tricky exam.
Collegeboard.com, the official web site of the SAT and ACT, allows students to register for the ‘SAT Question of the Day’. Signing up for this free service is a great way to get a daily dose of SAT study time. It also serves as a reminder to spend some time in review each day. Your college test day sneaks up on you, so make the most of every day leading up to it.

Instead of cramming right before the exam, it is much more beneficial to study in increments.  This incremental study pattern or rhythm is proven § Read the rest of this entry…

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A Case for the Flipped Classroom

§ November 14th, 2011 § 10 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team, Math, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Variations of flipped classrooms are as many as there are teachers.  Brian Bennett writes in his blog post, “The flipped class is an ideology, not a methodology.”  He stresses that it is not defined by the use of videos.  He has moved away from videos now that he has more time for “engaging activities and labs.”  The flipped classroom is all about “making connections with learners and differentiating your instruction.”  Therefore, a teacher can have such a classroom as long as the needs of all learners are being met.  Bennett is commended for meeting the needs of his learners.  However, for a classroom to truly be “flipped,” prepared instruction must continue at home, not just in the classroom.

The way we like to understand the term, the flipped classroom is used to introduce and reinforce the teaching in BOTH the classroom and at home. For example, a teacher introduces and provides direct § Read the rest of this entry…

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How We Treat Our Kids in School

§ November 1st, 2011 § 3 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , ,

 

photography by Pieter Edelman

I’m running for school board in Beverly Hills – a non-paying job with minimal perks – and we have one week left before the elections. The experience of campaigning has caused me to reflect on the experiences of our kids. I see some similarities.

ME: I am expected to spend money on mailers and newspaper advertising which doesn’t contribute anything to the knowledge of the voters other than name recognition. Perhaps it lets them know who has the better graphic designer, but overall it’s a waste of time and money. § Read the rest of this entry…

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Treatments for Math Anxiety

§ October 21st, 2011 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , ,

photography by gianΩmerz

A study published yesterday in the journal Cerebral Cortex suggests some potential treatments for math anxiety. See the Education Week blog.

In prior research, the author Sian L. Beilock found that just the thought of doing math problems can trigger stress responses in people with math anxiety, and adult teachers can pass their trepidation about math on to their students.

One of the earliest posts on this blog was on Handling Math Phobia. This subject is worth revisiting.

The study released yesterday shows that students who are anxious about math yet perform well have a high activity in the frontal and parietal regions of the brain when they learn a math problem is coming up. § Read the rest of this entry…

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