Questions tagged [student-motivation]

For questions concerning the motivation of students and helping them to motivate for their study in general.

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26
votes
17answers
5k views

Examples of Innumeracy

I read Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos and would like to share more up-to-date and relevant examples of innumeracy to motivate my grade 8, 9 & 10 students. Are there any websites, blogs, books, ...
25
votes
6answers
701 views

How can we help students who are very anxious about math?

In many parts of the world, the majority of the population is uncomfortable with math. In a few countries this is not the case. We would do well to change our education systems to promote a healthier ...
49
votes
13answers
10k views

How do I motivate my students to go to office hours?

I'm currently TAing a Linear Algebra class where a significant portion of the class is struggling, oftentimes getting marked down on homeworks or tests because they misunderstand some concept (rather ...
30
votes
13answers
2k views

Examples why university education is important for future high school teachers

At my university, the students in math are mixed up (1/3-1/2 are bachelor/master students, the rest are future high school teachers). A problem arising very often is the discussion dramatically ...
28
votes
8answers
2k views

How to react to students saying that they are allergic to applied mathematics?

I'm working in the field of applied mathematics (optimization and numerics) and I meet a lot of students saying that they are allergic to applied mathematics or that they hate it or some quotes like "...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

How to encourage women to study mathematics?

What are different ways we can get women to study mathematics? In my own experience, the higher the math class, the less women in the class. Most women tend to go on the math education track and do ...
26
votes
5answers
945 views

Wonder as motivation

Like all mathematicians, I have a deep appreciation of the beauty of mathematics. Many theorems I find amazing even after I fully understand their proofs. (Example: Euler's formula, $V-E+F=2-2g$. That ...
13
votes
2answers
668 views

What are some activities/projects I can assign to calculus students from bio/chem/physics majors to specifically motivate their interest?

(This question was proposed during the area51 phase.) It's common for chemistry/biology/physics majors to be required to take certain calculus courses. At my school, chem/bio students must take up ...
6
votes
3answers
490 views

Explaining how to study mathematics [closed]

Today on the process of explaining how to study Mathematics to my students, I said that Mathematics is just like a language. To learn a language, first we have to know its alphabet, grammar, ...
29
votes
14answers
8k views

Justifications for: Why learn mathematics?

I wonder how you teachers walk the line between justifying mathematics because of its many—and sometimes surprising—applications, and justifying it as the study of one of the great ...
25
votes
9answers
7k views

How to justify teaching students to rationalize denominators?

I'm teaching an "intermediate algebra" college course ($\approx$ junior high school or beginning high school algebra) and we have a bunch of problems on rationalizing denominators. How do I motivate ...
29
votes
9answers
6k views

What to do with students who think they “already know it,” but actually don't?

Many students take calculus or algebra courses in high school, then later take college courses of the same name. There are various reasons for this, but in most cases the students in a college ...
25
votes
7answers
1k views

How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

I teach to predominantly non-majors in college algebra, precalculus, and calculus. How can one possibly incentivize or rationalize assigning practice problems outside of class when this software is ...
19
votes
4answers
650 views

How to help motivate math when tutoring low level algebra (High school)

I was tutoring a student today and we were doing basic factoring of quadratics and expanding terms like $(x+2)(x+5)$. Now he ended up being able to do this by the end of our 2 and a half hour session, ...
10
votes
2answers
261 views

Quotations of Great Mathematicians as a Source of Inspiration for Young Students

I like using quotations of great mathematicians as a source of inspiration for young students. I think even a short sentence could have a great influence on forming their research interests and point ...
8
votes
1answer
300 views

Developing and fostering a Putnam group

I teach at a smallish (~2000 undergrads) liberal arts college. The math department is small and we have only about 8-10 majors per year. As far as I know, the Putnam exam has not been offered here for ...
19
votes
8answers
6k views

What's a good policy for accepting late homework?

There are a lot of ways of handling late homework submissions, of which I've only tried a few. The general policy I've settled on is something like the following. Homework must be submitted at the ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Motivating the study of matrices

In Brazil's curriculum students are taught matrices in high school. Here, however, there is no linear algebra or pre-calculus, therefore matrices end up being just tables with lots of "arbitrary" ...
12
votes
2answers
270 views

Research on how mathematics skills transfer to other areas

Briefly: I am looking for research on the extent to which learning mathematics (let's say "college algebra" if we want to be specific) impacts problem solving skills, abstract reasoning, etc. Less ...
10
votes
4answers
330 views

How to overcome mathematics-related anxiety?

I'm in undergrad engineering, freshman year, in IT. I suffer anxiety when I have to do calculus. Trigonometry is just tortuous. Anyone got any tips for lessening that? I guess hard work is the best, ...
10
votes
2answers
280 views

How to stay interested in less-tangible math

I've graduated high school and I am joining college soon. The problem with me is that I'm not finding less tangible math interesting at all. Some people find abstract math to be very beautiful, and I'...
9
votes
6answers
401 views

Motivation in School

I live in Brazil and here we have some problems with teaching mathematics in High School. In some point of the students' life (I think it happens in the 5th grade), they start "hating mathematics" ...
9
votes
4answers
520 views

Everyday Example Problems for Solving Linear and Quadratic Equations

I am going to teach some grade 9 students about solving linear and quadratic equations. I am looking for a question from every day life (of a teenager) or a puzzle which is hard to solve without using ...
6
votes
2answers
465 views

Encourage Students to solve problems at class

I see two options in teaching mathematics to undergraduate students in social sciences. 1) I can write examples and solve them in class, and ask the students to solve them while I do. This ...
19
votes
5answers
329 views

Should I tell my students that math is hard for me?

I have read and heard from some other instructors that they attempt to encourage students who find math hard by saying "math is hard for me too, in fact it's hard for everyone!" I have tried this a ...
13
votes
5answers
554 views

How to get through the boring stuff?

It frequently happens that there's some material I have to cover which is, frankly, boring. The subject itself may be boring, or it may be the particular exercises, but in any case I have to get ...
9
votes
1answer
122 views

Motivation vs. Rigor

This is such a vague topic that I hesitate to post. I constantly struggle between the time-tradeoff between motivating a topic, and delving into the rigorous details necessary to fully "grok" the ...
9
votes
4answers
319 views

Ideas for math problem solving class for undergraduate students in university

In our university there is a huge gap between two group of students. a group of them came from Math Olympiad competitions and have a very strong background from high school but others, they have just ...
7
votes
7answers
553 views

List of realistic extremum problems

I am a student who would like to become a teacher, so I am currently following courses in education. One of the things I learned, is that students like authentic, realistic problems. However, much of ...
5
votes
0answers
155 views

Students writing hip hop to learn biology (and math?)

This is a spin-off of the MESE-Q "Wonder as Motivation", where there was some concern expressed about relating to the students. It reminded me of this rap video by a stem-cell researcher on YouTube "...
1
vote
2answers
272 views

Designing a Good Question on Kinematics: Test and Develop

So I was asked in an interview to design two questions for UK Physics A Level students studying the suvat equations, that is, equations of motion with a constant acceleration. The first needs to '...