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When Teaching Math – Call It Discovery and Problem Solving, Not Mathematics
Why is Math a four letter word I ask? Maybe it shouldn’t be. You see, math is important in everything we do, and unfortunately, sometimes kids are intimidated by math, and so they shy away. They try to avoid it, and it is this fear that causes them to dislike such an important topic in life. Maybe we can do something about it as teachers.
Maybe we should call it problem solving, discovery, and not use that four-letter word so much. Once kids get good at math, we can call it math, but until then maybe we should call it something else, after all, kids need to understand why they’re solving these problems, and they should be rewarded for problem solving.
As you may know, I am an advocate for the teaching of math and science in our schools and ensure that every student graduating from high school has the math skills they need, the basic skills in mathematics to get along in the world. They need to know how to budget a checkbook, understand simple interest, and they need to know a little about taxation, economics, and all those political statistics thrown at them as they mature and become voters.
Yes, it would solve a lot of problems in our society and civilization, and we teachers are responsible for that, it is paramount that we rise to this occasion, because these children will soon lead our society in the future. While preparing this article, I was browsing through an old textbook that I picked up at a used book sale. When I flipped through it I liked it, bought it and took it home and put it on my library.
The name of the book is; “Discovering Statistics – An Adventure in Problem Solving” by James S. Hawkes, Quant Publishing, Charleston South Carolina, 1995, 624 pages, ISBN: 0-91809-12-8.
Just that title alone makes my point for me here today. That is to say, mathematics is about solving problems and having fun challenges, almost an adventure of discovery. It’s amazing how quick the minds of young adults become when they discover the power of math and begin to see the world in a different way. So why not take that four letter word and make it big again, because quite frankly, our future depends on it. Indeed, I hope you will consider all of this and think about it.
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