You know as a math teacher that math is more than simple formulas and numbers.
It’s all about discovering patterns you’ve never seen before, demonstrating a concept for the first time, and illustrating the occurrences that make the world so fascinating.
You should strive to involve your children in these mysteries of arithmetic on a daily basis, and you may do so in the math classroom by adopting student-centered methods like conversation and cooperation.
As a strategy to enhance deeper learning and build students’ confidence, agency, and identity, you should concentrate on creating and deepening student-centered math education rather than teaching math as a collection of processes.
Here are three critical techniques for implementing a student-centered math strategy and curriculum that will have a positive effect.
Inspiring students to discuss math
Too frequently, people associate math class with children working quietly on worksheets with their heads bowed.
You should flip this idea on its head and encourage pupils to talk about mathematical ideas with one another.
Following the advancement of Illustrative Mathematics, the curriculum has proven to be beneficial in this regard.
It begins with obtainable, low-stakes tasks and lessons that enable students to feel comfortable interacting in conversation and asking questions, gradually progressing to more intelligent ideas, methods, and applications.
This assists pupils develop a habit of talking about math throughout the school year and beyond.
For instance, in 9th-grade Algebra, the first section concentrates on one-variable statistics.
They utilize a Google Form to gather data from each pupil on the number of individuals in their family and how many relatives they have, and then they use graphs to examine the pattern of the dispersion.
The students get enthralled by the prospect of discovering where they belong among their peers, as well as the larger tale that the data tells.
They begin to express their thoughts and ideas verbally, using statistical phrases, asking questions, and debating the answers with one another.
Later in the unit, questions such as “How many times can a dog definitely bark in a minute?” sparked a lively argument among the 9th graders, all sparked by a concentration on the mathematical discussion.
Customizing arithmetic challenges to meet the needs of pupils
Since Illustrative Mathematics is open-source, you can adapt any portion of the curriculum to match the needs of your pupils, improve on their prior knowledge, and cater to their individual interests.
To assist students to access both the complicated terminology and innovative thinking at play, you can include conversation aids to a lecture on the end behavior of polynomial equations, for example.
As a teacher, you can construct a card sort that mirrors similar assignments from the curriculum but is tailored to students’ individual needs matching recurrent and nth term sequence descriptions when you find students suffering from the complexities of sequence definitions.
It goes a long way toward building more engaged, student-centered classrooms when teachers can adapt and customize math curriculum to meet students’ particular needs through activities that are both approachable and challenging.
Emphasizing social skills
working as a team to find solutions is a talent that every student should have and will utilize for the rest of their lives.
Critical reflection about various options is an important aspect of collaborative issue solving.
Math allows students to not only communicate how they dealt with the problem but also to experiment with different ways of solving it.
Encourage students to write their unique geometric sequence in the first unit of Algebra II.
Student can write “1, 1, 1, 1, 1,…”, which can spark a debate about whether or not this was in fact a geometric sequence.
Students used abilities including crafting a compelling debate, presenting facts to back up their perspective, and being compassionate by looking through someone else’s standpoint while explaining their reasoning for whether they believed it was a geometric sequence.
Other activities, such as ones in which students use their knowledge of multiplication diagrams to invent the concept of polynomial division, require students to work together as a team in solving issues for which no solution approach has been taught or defined by a teacher.
Furthermore, these activities enable each student to bring their unique comprehension and knowledge to the classroom, which is a cornerstone of student-centered learning.
As the world heals from the pandemic, you, like so many other teachers, want to help pupils learn faster while simultaneously maintaining their health.
Both of these objectives are met by student-centered teaching practices, and math class is a surprisingly good venue to use them.
These tactics, when used in conjunction with an adaptive, student-centered curriculum like Illustrative Mathematics, can help kids see themselves as competent, enthusiastic learners both within and outside of the math classroom.
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