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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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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Dominance of connectives: Why do we teach this?

These were two actual exercises given to students I have been tutoring for a college algebra class: I have been working very hard to convince my students of the importance and utility of learning ...
Joel Croteau's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
224 views

Recreational mathematics to create sense of mathematics

Recreational mathematics serves as a valuable educational tool by enhancing interest, fostering engagement, and refining mathematical thinking. While it often falls outside traditional curricula, ...
Janaka Rodrigo's user avatar
9 votes
7 answers
470 views

Loaning students calculators during exams

Context: I am an associate professor at a small liberal arts institution in the US. I find in my introductory business math course that students sometimes fail to buy a calculator for the course, ...
AegisCruiser's user avatar
  • 1,427
31 votes
4 answers
7k views

When is it appropriate to warn about the difficulty of a subject?

I've been a TA across every class in the calculus sequence, under the assignment of professors with different teaching styles and curricula. It's often clear to me ahead of time when a certain subject ...
Feryll's user avatar
  • 419
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Explaining Sigma-Notation

I attempted to introduce the summation notation $\Sigma$ to my students. The notation was unfamiliar to the students beforehand. I worked through many examples with them, but for most of them, working ...
wayne's user avatar
  • 193
4 votes
1 answer
232 views

Elementary examples for non-reversible logical steps

While listening to recordings of Calculus $I$ lectures, I noticed that some students get confused between showing that "some object $x$ is a solution", and showing that "every (...
Asaf Shachar's user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
3k views

Does induction really avoid proving an infinite number of claims?

I am teaching calculus $1$ this semester, and I saw the following motivation for using induction by another teacher: Since we can't go over "manually proving" all claims $1,2,\ldots$ and ...
Asaf Shachar's user avatar
15 votes
11 answers
4k views

What are some research-level opportunities in mathematics that do not focus on proofs?

The research level of mathematics (what is done by professors and upper-level graduate students) tends to be heavily portrayed as focused on writing proofs to the exclusion of most anything else math-...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
421 views

Motivating Students Through "Random Teaching"

I am recently into a sort of teaching which I shall term "Random Teaching". It involves: Asking student for a random word (not related to math remotely, say "cake") Preforming a ...
Number Basher's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
253 views

What kind of general advice for studying math we can offer undergraduate studens who do not major in math?

I have received request from a student, who is not in math major, asking me for advice on How to keep motivated when studying math (calculus, linear algebra, etc.) What does one need to do beyond ...
user avatar
10 votes
10 answers
966 views

What are examples of math-themed sci-fi appropriate for students?

What are examples of sci-fi books or short stories that have a mathematics theme? I'd like to have a pool of examples in mind that I could refer students to. The only example I've got in mind right ...
Mike Pierce's user avatar
  • 4,845
37 votes
10 answers
9k 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 ...
Opal E's user avatar
  • 4,043
5 votes
2 answers
279 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 ...
user294388's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
468 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 ...
Misha Shklyar's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
676 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 ...
Jon Bannon's user avatar
  • 6,173
5 votes
2 answers
336 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 ...
Jared's user avatar
  • 2,223
38 votes
6 answers
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 ...
Divakaran Divakaran's user avatar
41 votes
23 answers
7k 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 ...
BKE's user avatar
  • 1,282
2 votes
3 answers
912 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 ...
user581844's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
206 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 ...
Slaus's user avatar
  • 147
17 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 4,275
5 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
pjmathematician's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Kostya_I's user avatar
  • 1,401
2 votes
2 answers
129 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 ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 4,275
38 votes
18 answers
9k 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 ...
Axel Tong's user avatar
  • 863
2 votes
2 answers
195 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 ...
Rico1990's user avatar
  • 325
21 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
Mefitico's user avatar
  • 349
-3 votes
1 answer
232 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 ...
ELM's user avatar
  • 352
10 votes
1 answer
200 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 ...
Joseph O'Rourke's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
624 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'...
phi-man's user avatar
  • 127
7 votes
3 answers
343 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,...
user9054364's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
301 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 ...
user18858's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
352 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 ...
matqkks's user avatar
  • 1,243
7 votes
4 answers
416 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 ...
A. Goodier's user avatar
  • 1,725
4 votes
1 answer
156 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}{\...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
616 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 ...
raisa_'s user avatar
  • 143
7 votes
8 answers
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 ...
Student's user avatar
  • 179
5 votes
1 answer
202 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 ...
tonychow0929's user avatar
64 votes
13 answers
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 ...
MadScientist's user avatar
42 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can I help a student who has a "wrong" kind of enthusiasm?

Alice (not real name) is a student in one of my Math 100 (calculus) classes. It's a course offered by my college as a dual credit course at a high school, so the whole class is about 17/18 years old, ...
Torsten Schoeneberg's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
406 views

Project with transformation geometry

I am working on a unit plan dealing with tranformation geometry level secondary education. Students do enjoy creating those visual transformation but I am trying to figure out what could be a nice ...
gegu's user avatar
  • 229
15 votes
13 answers
3k views

Mnemonics for some properties in mathematics

I am looking for various mnemonics which help students to remember some important properties or theorems. Very often students confuse signs or relations such as $\leq$ and $\geq$ in some expressions. ...
YukiJ's user avatar
  • 712
8 votes
4 answers
383 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 ...
Basj's user avatar
  • 273
7 votes
6 answers
650 views

Neat topics or problems to include in a probability class

I'd like to get suggestions for neat topics or problems to include in an undergraduate, upper division Introduction to Probability class. Many people have taught probability for many years and I'm ...
eternalGoldenBraid's user avatar
44 votes
4 answers
3k 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, ...
Brendan W. Sullivan's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
815 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 ...
Mike Shulman's user avatar
  • 6,580
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are the reasons for “math fear”?

I perceive that among the general population the belief that mathematics is some sort of highly intellectual esoteric subject is still quite prevalent. After studying math proper I've discovered that ...
mavavilj's user avatar
  • 191
8 votes
2 answers
205 views

Problem based learning (PBL) for pupils with educational difficulties

I taught IT in an engineering school during three years in problem based learning (PBL) only. Now I teach maths to pupils between 10 and 15 years old who have a lot of educational difficulties. I'm ...
Pierre's user avatar
  • 185
10 votes
5 answers
366 views

Drumming up interest in journal-problem-solving and competition prep

I teach at a small liberal-arts college and advise our Math Club. In past years, I have talked a few students into taking the Putnam Exam. I've found that I pretty much have to "coerce" them into ...
Brendan W. Sullivan's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
102 views

Should I pursue math or physics as a career? [closed]

If I studied laplace transforms, fourier analysis, multivariable calculus, differential equations, partial differential equations by 9th grade, does that mean I have talent for math or for physics. ...
Anonymous's user avatar