How do I foster joy in mathematics?
“Numerous research studies (Silver, 1994) have shown that when students are given opportunities to pose mathematics problems, to consider a situation and think of a mathematics question to ask of it—which is the essence of real mathematics—they become more deeply engaged and perform at higher levels.” (Boaler, Mathematical Mindsets, 2015, p. 27)
- explore mathematics as a lifelong learner and remember that our attitudes influence our students
- start by uncovering and then building on the students’ interests, questions, and life experiences
- provide engaging opportunities that provoke and inspire mathematical thinking through play, inquiry, and exploration
- be aware of and act on teachable moments that offer opportunities for emergent mathematical inquiry
Explore mathematics as a lifelong learner and remember that our attitudes influence our students.
The mathematics we teach in our classrooms is a small part of a large and diverse subject area. Becoming exposed to different ideas that stretch our understanding and knowledge enable us to speak passionately about math in our classrooms. Finding ways to immerse ourselves in mathematics as a regular practice provides an opportunity to engage in mathematics that is meaningful. There are many ways to introduce a mathematical habit:
- read a book
- watch a video
- solve a problem or puzzle
- explore the MTBoS (MathTwitterBlogosphere)
Alex Bellos has a regular mathematical puzzle column in the Guardian. His latest book is Can You Solve My Problems?: Ingenious, Perplexing, and Totally Satisfying Math and Logic Puzzles.
"The Global Math Department is a community of math teachers on the Internet. We communicate via Twitter and blogs so we use the nickname Math Twitter Blogosphere (MTBoS). First and foremost it’s a support group for teachers in year 0 to 50 (preservice to retired!). Over time, this diverse group has grown in number and in scope of activities. We’ve built resources, curricula, websites, and co-authored a book. We run online workshop sessions, problem-solving groups, and a weekly “department meeting” via webinar. Our online connections have even spilled over into “real life”—we have an annual conference called Twitter Math Camp.
We are passionate math teachers who take pride in sharing our best math teaching ideas."
Provide engaging opportunities that provoke and inspire mathematical thinking through play, inquiry, and exploration.
Jo Boaler's website, YouCubed , offers teachers, parents and students a chance to experience mathematics in playful and creative ways, while developing a strong understanding of mathematical concepts. Find inspiration for learning experiences for classrooms and at home.
Week 1 of Inspirational Math is a chance for students to work collaboratively while visualizing numbers, experiencing mathematical thinking and exploring patterns:
Week 2 of Inspirational Math introduces ideas about how we see math, the power of mistakes, a belief in one's own abilities and visual thinking about mathematics. Students are given an opportunity to explore and make conjectures, while being encouraged to think creatively and become comfortable with uncertainty:
Be aware of and act on teachable moments that offer opportunities for emergent mathematical inquiry.
One of the practices consistent with the philosophy of Reggio-inspired pedagogy is building on the interests and wonders of students, and an inquiry-based learning environment has openings for emergent student inquiry.