28

You don't say in the question what kind of school this is. It must be a four-year school rather than a community college, but there is no indication of what its admissions standards are like. If this is a state school that's easy to get into, say Cal State Fullerton, and a lot of these students are math education students, then you're extremely lucky that ...


25

There's probably no silver bullet. But one tool I use is in these situations (e.g., I teach discrete mathematics etc. at a U.S. community college) is to very closely align with a good textbook. In fact, here's my personal note to myself in my checklist for preparing a new course: The most important thing is to TEACH FROM A GOOD BOOK. My motivation here is ...


17

EDIT: I would like to clarify that my response below is not intended to be definitive. This is an extremely difficult problem to have. It is perhaps the most difficult problem one can have as a teacher: a complete breakdown of the trust in each other which is needed to make communication possible. The idea below is only a stab in the dark, which has many ...


14

I agree with @Tommi that creating community is bigger than one activity. I do a number of things at the start of semester, but building community is also in the way I teach, every day of class. (I teach college, currently online via zoom.) You might check out Francis Su's blog, which is related to his book, Mathematics for Human Flourishing. I also found the ...


8

Some helpful feelings of mine about teaching: You can't force someone to learn. As an undergraduate professor, I am responsible for being a resource to provide my students with the information they need and some motivation and structure. However, my students are welcome to pass up those resources. I am responsible for providing a classroom environment ...


5

In the age before covid, back when we were still human, I found breaking the class into groups and having them solve about a half dozen problems on the board was moderately successful in getting them involved. You need a lot of board space and a few minutes before class to write up problems. I would give them 10-20 minutes to attempt, then I'd spend the rest ...


4

This is a tricky situation. Here are some strategies that I have followed in my Discrete Math for CS class, perhaps they will be of some use to you. I make it clear that the purpose of the class is to understand how to read mathematical definitions and what constitutes a proof and that this understanding is to be inculcated in a hands-on manner, i.e., by ...


4

The problem with induction is common (I'm sure you are aware of that). With an audience of CS majors I would try and utilize the connection between induction and recursion. Basically driving home the point that induction is the tool for proving that a function defined by recursion gives the predicted outcome. I would go for the throat and use Ackermann's ...


3

There's a lot of good answers here - just to add one tactic that's worked well for me, consider adding low-stakes assignments that allow students to use skills they don't ordinarily think of as part of a math class. In one of my classes this last year, I included a weekly discussion post as part of the class, usually centered around a philosophical question ...


3

The ultimate for this, which is an entire curriculum, is "The Life of Fred" book series. It is fantastic, and you can get an entire math education, elementary to undergrad, just through Fred books.


3

Here are projects I have written and used. I assign these to student groups of 3-6 students, mostly Engineering majors, mostly sophomores. In class time is about 30 minutes per project to introduce the set up; then they work out of class for about 2 weeks per project (and come to office hours frequently during that time). Linear programming Camera matrices ...


2

I think a lot of results are "accessible" in terms of a pop science-y explanation, rather than following a detailed proof. And since you're looking for emotional motivation, I actually think the former is the more important! For example, see this (quite engaging) video about moving sofas around corners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXfKWIZQIo4 ...


2

Mathematics is often thought of as a bunch of clever people doing weird things with symbols for reasons that are difficult to relate to reality. Whilst this is not entirely false, it is for the most part (almost humorously so in my opinion), the antithesis of the actual role of mathematics in today's world. I challenge anyone to seriously tackle the world's ...


2

Rather than trying to figure out a trick to use, you might want to see what are the core activities in the classroom and what, if anything, you can do about those. The family life etc. of the pupils can also have a huge effect, especially in corona times, but there is less you can do about those. The main ideas in the literature I have met are that ...


2

It would be helpful if you told us more about the class and the demographic. Is this freshman calculus at Enormous State University? Or abstract algebra at Princeton? Kind of changes the answer based on the type of drill the peeps are doing and what their capabilities are. I recommend sharing written solution (or at least answer) keys at the sessions. ...


1

Their behaviour is classic Dunning-Kruger. The way to change their behaviour is to give them more knowledge about the subject (in this case e.g. mathematical induction). I know this seems really difficult or perhaps even impossible: At the moment they seem to be working against you and seem to be actively refusing to acquire more skill. Perhaps you could ...


1

Take Them Seriously Authority cannot be demanded or mandated; it must be earned. Frankly, I think you can and must earn it. You obviously take your job seriously, because you took the time to think carefully about these students, their disruptive behavior, take notes, and solicit advice. That's great! When a student challenges you in class, you should ...


1

My experience is at university level so it may not fit your requests. During my online course I planned and did the following: opened each lecture with one musical piece that was chosen by students. They all agreed it helped them gaining concentration and momentum asked them, with a small reward on grades, to write a log journal - one page at least per week ...


1

You can't. Mathematics is hard, and its beauty must be earned by hard work. Think about how you might have realized the beauty of maths. You most probably have thought very hard about a problem, and when you finally put the pieces together, your reward was a feeling of beauty. This reward then made you more likely to put in effort and get more rewards, which ...


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