There is a need to inspire math learning because the US is lagging behind many countries in math achievement. Change the Equation has results of a new survey about the attitudes towards Math and it is not positive. There is a growing number of children and adults who claim to hate math, actually have math anxieties, or describe themselves as not math people. There are also people complaining about how math is taught. I have seen first hand the number of teens and adults unable to give correct change. On the flip side, there are people complaining that math is not challenging enough for their child or that their mathematically gifted child is bored with the current instruction. Parents from both sides are trying to find math resources to help their child because there is a need to change math instruction.
Math does not need to be boring. There does not need to be a math aversion. Math is a key part of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) & STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) movement. In addition, many companies and universities are starting a new movement to get a mathematics mindset and growth mindset going. Leah Shafer has a great article on this issue called “Becoming a Math Person.” Amazon partnered with other companies to start With Math I Can in order to change attitudes of teachers, parents, and students about math in order to create a math mindset. You Cubed from Stanford University has a week of Inspirational Math and How To Learn Math courses for free for students, parents, and educators.
I have two other blogs on math that are very relevant. In my blog “Math, Maths, Mathematical…” I provide 100’s of ideas for teaching math from different games, apps, money games, videos, and books. There obviously are way more ideas than listed, but it is a great place to start. Presenting math in ways beyond just memorization is the key. In my blog “Algebra for an 8 to 9-year-old” there are about 30 resources we have used for our son. Since I wrote that blog, we added another website to our lineup called Hotmath which has algebra and geometry as well as college level math. The site has tutorial videos as well as step-by-step walking through the answers to textbooks.
In some cities, universities have put together math circles for high school students. And, some of these circles will allow gifted middle and elementary students to participate. To find a math circle near you, check with the National Association of Math Circles. For younger kids, Mobius Noodles has math circles and natural math specifically for preschool and elementary students. Math circles can be used at any age and are a great way to get a math mindset developed.
Another way to get students excited about math is through math competitions. Sadly, many schools are completely unaware of these or the resources for them. In addition, not all math competitions are the same. Most involve a completely different kind of problem solving than what is typically taught in the traditional schools or what is found on traditional state testing. Some of the competitions are open to all students: homeschool, private school, or public school. Some competitions are also exclusively online. Math Madness is an online math competition from March 7th to April 16th, 2016. The World Education Games is an online math, science, and reading competition held every 2 years. The next competition is in 2017. The National Internet Math Olympiad is an online math competition. MathCon is an online competition for 5th-12th-grade students. Noetic Learning runs semiannual competitions for students 2nd-8th grade. Math Counts is a math club and hosts math competitions. The Art of Problem Solving lists out math competitions in various countries as well as US competitions by grade level (elementary, middle, high, and college). The National Association of Math Circles has an extensive list of math competitions. The Mathematical Association of America hosts the American Mathematics Competition and has other resources for advancing math instruction. As you can see, there are many types of math competitions out there.
If you want articles about math instruction, check out these news stories:
- 5 Year Olds Can Learn Calculus from the Atlantic
- Superior Father Has Taught His 8 and 5-year-old Children Algebra and Calculus from the Duluth News Tribune
- Catch Them Young from the Guardian
- How I Taught a 6-year-old Algebra in 4 Months from Huffpost
- Why 5-year-olds Can Do Algebra from ABC News
- Memorizers are the Lowest Achievers and Other Common Core Math Surprises from Hechinger Report
- Many Parents Hated Common Core Math at First, Before Figuring it Out from the Washington Post
- You’re Wrong About Common Core Math: Sorry Parents but it Makes More Sense Than You Think from Salon
- Teachers Nurture Growth Mindsets in Math from Education Week
- Growth Mindset and the Common Core Math Standards from Edtopia
If you would like more ideas or suggestions for making math fun for your children, check out these posts:
- How to Make Math Class Interesting
- 6 Ways to Make Math More Fun
- How to Make Math Fun
- Math Goodies
- Making Math Fun
- Using Lego to Build Math Concepts
- Infographic: Using Legos to Teach Hands-On Math
- Mathematics & Music
- Music, Math, and Patterns
- Mathematics in Music
- Zometool Resources
Go inspire your students or children to enjoy math!
This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “March Math-ness.” I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.
Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_march_mathness.htm