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David Semitekol

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Where do you use math in your profession?

One of the most difficult challenges that math teachers face today is motivating their students. This becomes more difficult when faced with the all famous question: "What am I going to use this for?"

Help me with some real world examples of modern day math. Please let me know your profession and what type of math you use to share with our students.

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Thank you everyone so much for the contributions! They are great and I wasn't expecting such a turn out. My goal is to gain enough examples and to use them at the start of each lecture. I'm hoping that these examples in the beginning of class will spark the student's interest for the reaming of the lecture and to show that that we really do use math.

There is a difference between having to learn something and wanting to learn something. When we have to learn it we just try to get through it. When we want to learn it, this is when we make breakthroughs. Stimulate the interest in students so that they want to learn math and we increase our probability in someone discovering the next breakthrough.

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    Feb 3 2012: I could not survive without Math.

    I need an understanding of number order to find addresses as I drive around town.

    I need mental math to calculate which is a best buy at the groceries. If a 24 ounce package is on sale for $4.99 is that a better buy than say two 12 ounce packages that each cost $2.65?

    I need it to scale down a pancake recipe I have that feeds eight. Some mornings I only make pancakes for 4 or 5 people, so I need to divide fractions for this.

    Math is very important!!

    By the way David, are you familiar with Project M.I.N.D. (Math is not difficult)? It was started as a grant project by a Nova University professor many years ago. I don't know if it is still around.

    Also, here is something I used to love to do with my little ones each morning.(kdgtn and 1st grade)

    Calendar Skills: Let's say today is the 28 of the month. I would ask them to make 28 using coins. I would ask for three ways (1 quarter 3 pennies, 3 dimes 1 nickel 3 pennies.....etc)

    Kids really looked forward to this each morning.

    When learning fractions, we would make pizzas out of construction paper. I precut the paper into huge circles beforehand, they decorated and made their own paper toppings,

    They had to divide the pizza up into 1/2's or 1/3's or 1/4's and then choose toppings, Later, they had to write about what they did. For example....My pizza is one third pepperoni, one third cheese and one third mushrooms. I always found that taking a Math enrichment activity and turning it into a writing assignment really paid off.

    Afterwards, I filled a bulleting board with all their colorful pizzas and writing.......I loved to decorate my class with kids work.

    How about you?
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      Feb 3 2012: Hi Mary,

      Thank you for the link for project M.I.N.D. I will have to take a look at it.

      I love your real world examples with your kids. My area of interest is in college math and higher, perhaps starting with high school. For example: algebra, calculus and trigonometry.

      My concern is with the student's interest when approaching these subjects. They simply have no desire to learn the material and they end up just muddling through it. In some cases it causes students to change their major just to avoid the required math.

      There is a difference between having to learn something and wanting to learn something. When we have to learn it we just try to get through it. When we want to learn it, this is when we make breakthroughs. Stimulate the interest in students so that they want to learn math and we increase our probability in someone discovering the next breakthrough.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Feb 3 2012: Hey David, do you have smartboards in your classrooms?

        Because if you do, then the possibilities are endless. The board allows you to display any website on it....so if you do your research, then you'll always have a great opening for class.

        The internet has made teaching much more interesting for the teacher and the student. But still, it is the teachers integrity and devotion to the subject matter and his students that decide the outcome.

        Also, remember about www.kahnacademy.org. Teachers, as well as students have access to free tutoring sessions. You might pick up some ideas on how to present your material there.

        I wish you all the best David!!!

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