Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tell Me Why

leopardMy husband told me that he liked books and movies that explained to him “why.” He wanted to know why things worked or why he should do certain things or why things happened. If teachers told students the “why” about things, he believes that he would have been a better student.

The more I thought about this, the more it makes sense. As a teacher, I am always telling others that our lessons must be relevant to the students. By this I mean that I need to explain, show, or demonstrate to the students why the lesson I am teaching is so important for them to learn.

Even now when I’m looking for new teaching strategies or new tools, I want to know why. I want to know why it works, as well as how it works. This tells me whether it is worth learning or not. Knowing the “why” tells me if it will make a difference in my life and/or the student’s life.

I am reading the book Life by the Numbers by Keith Devlin. This is the companion book to the PBS series "Life by the Numbers" and it gives examples of the versatility of math as a tool for understanding just about everything.

Math was used to figure out how does a leopard get its spots. A scientist drafted his own scientific version of Rudyard Kipling’s bedtime story.

US Skaters were able to perform fantastic feats thanks to research done by mathematicians.

Math involves patterns that occur all around us! These patterns are in science and music if we look closely. Math is even used in special effects for movies, arts, and advertising. Even in nature, lots of math can be found! Of course there is lots of math used in gambling and sports.

I think this book would be a great book to inspire students to learn math skills. No matter what their interests might be, I think you would be able to find how math is used. Maybe students could even do a project to show how math is used in whatever topic interests them.

I truly believe if we can show students why they need to learn something, there will be more of a desire to learn. This learning will be more meaningful and interesting for all.

What do you use to inspire and motivate students to learn math? Please share.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Deadly Beauty'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13948669@N07/3672347622 by: Jessy CE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important to tell studnets why we are teaching them and asking them to work on certain lessons. I put my objectives and the why on my board every day so studnets know what we are learning and why. We even will have a quick conversation about the why-and I teach 1st grade!