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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15
votes
5answers
718 views

What are some recent, interesting, accessible pieces of mathematics

Mathematics can come across as a sterile, dead subject - a catalogue of techniques long-ago decided, and forever relearned by each successive generation of students. This is approximately true for ...
34
votes
10answers
8k views

Combative students in proofs classes

When teaching my first discrete math class recently, I found a subset of about 5 out of 35 of my primarily computer science students who I struggled to reach. If these students simply struggled with ...
8
votes
3answers
340 views

I'm worried that my struggles with calc 2 mean I won't be able to become a professor later

I have just turned 18 and am in calculus BC (calc 1 & calc 2). I most certainly grasp and understand the concepts of calc 1 however every once in a while a I seem to struggle with the calc 2 work. ...
42
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4answers
2k views

Teaching undergraduates who expect a high-school-like learning environment

tl;dr: Some students expect to be told "what's on the test", to memorize and then move on. What can be done to change how they learn while teaching them what to learn? Context: Introductory, ...
5
votes
2answers
214 views

How can I encourage students to show up for exercise classes?

I am doing a maths PhD and naturally that involves leading exercise classes for undergraduate students. The idea is that the students just show up and work through the problem set and I'm there to ...
36
votes
18answers
8k views

How do I show students the Beauty of Mathematics?

I teach many high school students, and all of them complain about being unable to fully understand mathematical concepts. I try to show them the joy of learning and deepen their understanding through ...
30
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
36
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
435 views

Creating an Engaging Class Atmosphere

I would like to start out next year by creating a classroom community. This year I noticed a lot of burnout towards the second half of the year. Basically, I want to see what kinds of games/activities ...
24
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15answers
3k views

What books are like Knuth's Surreal Numbers?

I'm looking to find more examples of books which bridge the gap between "story" and "mathematics" using narrative and all those other wonderful features we might find in Harry Potter or some other ...
34
votes
15answers
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
160 views

Parkour and Mathematical Practice?

Learning mathematics and learning parkour seem to have a lot in common. Both can be done on varying levels, but to progress in either one needs to overlearn and build basic skills so that these skills ...
8
votes
4answers
303 views

Make a matrix algebra course (1st university year) more "project-based"

Among other courses, I'm teaching a (basic) matrix algebra course for 1st year university students (they are studying Economics, and the cursus leads them to management, finance, or econometrics in ...
15
votes
11answers
10k views

How is education in mathematics relevant to law?

Many students who take courses in mathematics go on to pursue "non-mathematical" careers. I'm wondering, in particular, about those who go on to study Law, and how mathematics is (or can be made) ...
6
votes
0answers
307 views

Links between mathematical folklore and educational success

I would like to ask if, in the research field of mathematical education, some work has been done to investigate the relationship between 1) and 2): mathematical education and student motivation the ...
5
votes
2answers
289 views

Curving grades without creating competition among students [closed]

I've recently taken a new position within a math department at a large university. The department has an official policy that in most lower-level undergraduate classes (let's say anything in the ...
37
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I give feedback that is not demotivating?

Background: To cope with online education, I taught linear algebra using a variant of the flipped classroom. I recorded videos and put them up on YouTube and students presented the content in these ...
37
votes
22answers
6k views

How should I answer questions about the purpose of learning math?

What are some good answers to questions e.g. "why do we need to study square roots"? Of course the answer depends highly on who is asking. For the scope of my question, I have a student in ...
2
votes
3answers
666 views

Struggling with Math Skills and When to Quit

Until this point I have felt inspired to study math and looked forward to my classes. But lately I've been having difficulty with my math skills, where I keep making errors over problems I had ...
-1
votes
1answer
180 views

Can I motivate kids to do math by giving them candies? [closed]

I am talking about literally asking for kids' time/attention by offering them candies: not giving them tasks about summing real candies, etc. I try to teach math from time to time to my relatives of ...
0
votes
2answers
275 views

Future in mathematics

My sibling is done with high school and has always scored A in Maths and am not in position to advise her on the future in line of her niche. She's not yet in university and she's in her vacation but ...
28
votes
6answers
854 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

What are some of the open problems that can be suitably introduced in a calculus course?

I feel it may be a good idea to introduce some related open problems in a calculus course. Surely I am not expecting my students to solve any one of them, though I cannot say it is absolutely ...
5
votes
4answers
739 views

Falling into the calculus trap

I am a student, in my last year of school(17 years old) When I was about 13 years old I fell into the calculus trap by starting off learning trigonometry on my own, when I was supposed to factor ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

"Feynman effect" in teaching mathematics

In his book "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman", Richard Feynman relates the following story. As he was supervising a group of calculators for Manhattan project, he at some point gave them a lecture on ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Multiple extra credit questions in a homework set

Extra credit questions sometimes motivate students to study more. Occasionally I find several valuable questions which are all good as extra credit question choices but I have to limit the number of ...
10
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5answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

Teaching a student who refuses to learn

How to deal with a student who refuses to learn? I've met a few of those over the years as a a private-class math teacher. They don't want to learn anything about the subject. Some of them are just ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How to engage low-level students?

I'm a recent graduate in my first year of teaching. I teach secondary students, and I have found that some low-level students are not listening in class. They seem to have given up and stopped trying. ...
2
votes
2answers
189 views

Introductory exercise for the addition of large natural numbers

I'm starting a repetition with my students in 5th grade after they learned in elementary school how to sum up larger natural numbers (also 5- to 6-digits) by writing down that calculation. As ...
-3
votes
1answer
189 views

A role for a non-symmetric equality relation in teaching mathematics? [closed]

First, I will simply observe that it seems to be standard practice, in elementary set theory, to define relations to be sets of ordered pairs. If we had the option of introducing a "symmetric ...
11
votes
2answers
359 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
1answer
168 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

How to work with polynomials in difficult classes?

I am currently teaching a very difficult class, with young people (16 years old) who are deeply unmotivated and restless. I should work with them with polynomials, but I'm having a troublesome time; ...
28
votes
17answers
7k 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, ...
7
votes
3answers
298 views

Complex numbers and encourage justification

In remedial algebra, we learn that the graph of $y=(\sqrt x)^2$ is only in the first quadrant. We know this is the correct graph for the equation. This is because we know $y=x$ and $x \ge 0$. However,...
9
votes
3answers
291 views

How to motivate students to do proofs?

I am finding it difficult to motivate students on why they should how to prove mathematical results. They learn them just to pass examinations but show no real interest or enthusiasm for this. How can ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Interesting Math Posters

Our undergraduate university department is looking to spruce up our rooms and hallways a bit and has been thinking about finding mathematical posters to put in various spots; hoping possibly to entice ...
1
vote
2answers
342 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 '...
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" ...
7
votes
4answers
351 views

How to deal with students who object to me teaching material that won't be in the exam?

I sometimes encounter students who ask questions like 'Why are we learning this if it won't be on the exam?' If there is time to spare I like to teach interesting applications or natural extensions of ...
7
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Making modular arithmetic interesting for school kids

This is a pattern even school kids could discover (when gently pointed to). I never did conciously, and cannot remember to have been pointed to explicitly, neither at school nor later: $$\color{red}{\...
3
votes
3answers
453 views

Math Anxiety get in the way of my Graduate School, I want to continue PhD

Probably it's just another advice-seeking CS student about math.. Well. I have math anxiety. Im a CS student, back then in undergrad I deal with code everyday, as long as my program work smoothly, i'm ...
20
votes
4answers
786 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, ...
14
votes
2answers
979 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

Encouraging students to learn probability

Background: I’m not exactly a Math educator, but I’m currently a TA of an elementary algebra course aiming at students of age 14-15. I found that a lot of people have misconception about probability ...
12
votes
4answers
313 views

Teaching new stats students confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and other general techniques for inference

I have instructed for community colleges and adjuncted for major universities for just over fifteen years now. In all my time doing this job, I've found that the worst manifestation of so-called "...
60
votes
13answers
9k views

How to get past the "mystique" of Maths

This question is primarily discussing maths education for adult learners, on courses teaching engineering mathematics at an undergraduate level. These students generally never set out specifically to ...
7
votes
4answers
477 views

Examples of Research Level Math Discoveries Done by Undergraduate Students

A good way for motivating young students in undergraduate level is telling them that you can do great works! Question. What are good examples of research level mathematical discoveries done by ...