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Maths should be more 'glamorous'

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Betamale, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. 'Lol' as the kids would say
    This is the exact reason maths is rarely glam becuase nobody did this in the first place to get kids ready to enjoy the beauty and power of the subject.
    I disagree so much its painful
  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Your average British teenager seems to define so many things as boring.
    In my experience classes are happy when they put the effort in and start achieving. So many kids today want satisfaction without effort. They don't put they effort in, they don't achieve and they moan about things being "boring."
    My standard response to "this is boring" is "How do you know? You aren't doing it."
  3. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    I am sure that OldAndrew has written about this on his Teaching Battleground Blog. If kids find the films they watch at the cinema "boring" then there is no hope for us to convince them that maths is interesting by using gimmicky things.

  4. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    How did they cope with p-branes?

  5. I theme my year 9 teaching around M-theory. Students find it highly engaging, not just because the topic is interesting but because this topic is always about being at the boundaries of what we know. They find it exciting that I don't understand precisely what it means either.
    I work hard to share what I do and have done conference sessions on this and other methods of teaching which students find exciting for free which have gone down well with other teachers.
    When I get time I may well do an Elluminate session on this.

    I find Professor Green's comments disturbing, firstly because he does not acknowledge the excellent teaching which does engage students which is going on and secondly because the corollary of his concerns seems to be that there is a need for and Ebacc and a review of the National Curriculum.
    What's needed here is for there to be support for teachers to communicate their good practice (which can be done very cheaply utilising technologies such as Elluminate on which there has recently been a thread on this forum) and encouragement and support for teachers who are prepared to put the effort into developing their own teaching skills to make their lessons more engaging, entertaining and and relevant.

  6. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    you said this before and i commented but you didn't reply
    how can you theme the whole of year 9 (or any part of it) around this topic?
    your students could not possibly begin to understand the first thing about it so this just seems to be a really silly claim
  7. Sorry arsinh, I've got confused with this thread, trying to keep up with my posts being deleted.
    It's really hard to rapidly explain how I do this but I'll try.
    I show students youtube videos about string theory and m-theory. They get the gist of the extra dimensions.
    When we do two way tables I use Furbles which Casy recently posted a link to. First of all I only let one feature vary and I get them to contrruct tables. Then I let two features vary and the naturally construct two way tables (and other interesting tabulations). Then I let three features vary and we exlore how this can be represented. I use Pivot tables in Excel. They imagine cube tables which is very interesting. They I have a database of Furbles with four features....... which challenges their geometric thinking about these things. What happens with four variable? There are other related activities.
    Another area where I introduce this is when we study circles and spheres. I get them to look carefully at the dimensionality of the formulae invovled. We notice that a circle is the locus of points equidistant from a point in 2-dimensional space (and the the circumferance has one dimension and the area has two) and that a sphere is the locus of points equidistant from a point in three dimensions and that it's surface area has two dimensions and its volume has three dimensions. Then we try to contemplate the locus of a point equdistant from a point in four dimensions and so on. There's lots of good info on hyperspheres in wiki and some cool youtubes.
    I always make sure my students watch Flatland the Movie to give them insights into how to concieve higher dimensions. I a nice exercise which link the work they do with furbles to the them of the movie.
    And generally I just talk about M-theory and how exciting it is and show them clips of releavant youtubes about higher dimensional mathematics as and when is appropriate. I seem to manage to find lots of places where it is.
    It's really, really hard to describe in a post. Sorry if this doesn't make sense at all but I have to go. I've got a lot of work still to do tonight.
    Thanks for your interest arsinh.
  8. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    ok, i am quite happy to believe year 9s can just about handle the idea of higher dimensions - i haven't seen flatland the movie but i have used this clip of carl sagan with year 10s on the same subject:
    that is still a hell of a long way away from M theory
  9. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    If I were you I would stick with your earlier analysis of the situation.

  10. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    All I can say is A.F.T.

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