James Turner

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Is there a way that this material could be transformed to teach it to students in a classroom.

In watching this presentation it caused me to think that if I could show students how to do these calculations quickly it might be the key to inspiring them to try and do better in mathematics. I have not purchased is book as yet. I work with Independent Study students and many of them have problems with knowing the times tables up to 10. My thought is that if they could learn and do some of these mathemagical calculations it might give them confidence to tackle higher maths and help them with things like Algebra and Geometry where loads of calculations need to be learned. Any thoughts or idea will be greatly appreciated.

  • Aug 8 2011: Calculations are one thing and there are many interesting mathematical tricks, but it you can't relate the topic to your students life / motivate them to learn, then they will never grab the material and take ownership of it.

    The question is not what tricks to teach them, but rather what tricks are applicable to their lives. I once subbed (long term) for a resource teacher (doing much the same job that you describe) and the teacher had them doing drill and skill BS (IMHO) that they hated and did grudgingly. I decided to chuck the drills and find out what these kids were interested in. They liked cars and working on cars. When I asked them how many of them owned a car no one raised their hands. When I asked them how many wanted to own a car all the hands went up.

    This lead to an essay of what a owning a car would mean to them and an exploration and sharing of the feelings they associated with owning a car; freedom, safety, the ability to leave, control, prestige, desirability, etc. It is interesting that the young men and ladies were able to offer advice to each other about what a healthy relationship would be. Many of the young men had no idea what the women found desirable and preferable.

    Next we had a lesson in how to do a delimited online boolean search for the expressed purpose of finding a used car that they wanted. They printed out the info on the car including prices and put them in a folder so they had a goal. Then we called some of the car dealerships and I convinced the car managers to chat with the kids about the ins and outs of getting approved for a loan and how much they would need to buy and maintain a car.

    Finally we delved into the mathematics of income, taxes, depreciation, and compounding interest.

    And all of these (to them) more advanced mathematical concepts, that they previously had no interest in, became something that they worked on dilligently because they cared about finding out the answers.
    • Aug 9 2011: agreed - i had similar experience whilst i was teaching computer science and tutoring physics - important thing is to find their motivation and spin the curriculum around it, when students can relate to (for them) real world interest, they will be engaged and retain the underlying message.
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    Aug 7 2011: You should really check the videos (and the rest of the site) on http://khanacademy.org/ and also watch the TED Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html
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    Aug 8 2011: It is a good presentation and I am looking to see if there are some ideas that the TED community could generate for using it in my Independent Study classes and for regular teachers in the classroom. Thanks
    James
  • Aug 8 2011: hey i am a new person here and i will watch your presentation