April is Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM) and we’ve been curious to know how it’s being observed in your classrooms! The goal of MAM is to increase public awareness of the importance and application of Mathematics.
Each year has a different theme. This year’s theme is Mathematics, Magic and Mystery and each day in the month of April, the official MAM website reveals a new magical and mysterious mathematical phenomenon through a video presentation, and provides resources to help in understanding the mathematics behind it.
So whether you choose to strictly adhere to this month’s theme or not, raising awareness about the importance of Mathematics is the point of this holiday as demonstrated by K12.com Math teacher, Wade Lavigne who submitted an activity idea that can be used in engaging students in a month long celebration of Mathematics.
Here is Wade’s activity submission:
Here is Wade’s thinking behind his approach:
I was moved by the idea that we all need the stimulus to learn something new each and every day. By developing a POD (MATH PROBLEM OF THE DAY) I have been able to create a dialog with hard to reach students. The comic strip site Bitstrips enabled me to personalize tricky math problems. Sometimes I translate state testing open response questions into a Bitstrip problem, or I simply make one up. These problems are aligned with the Common Core Standards for the grades I teach ( Middle School – Grades 7 & 8). Most importantly I get an opportunity to personalize my feedback for each and every student who submits a solution to my POD.
That dialog allows me to guide students to write about their mathematical thinking . The words- show your work- are mundane and create a level of resistance with students; instead I ask students to share their thoughts about the problem. Same idea, just a different approach – and it works. I am hopeful that my students will do an exceptional job at answering open response questions and earn 4/4 points on most of the questions. I expect to see a sizeable increase in the “advanced” level results. It is gratifying to see a student progress from “Needs Improvement” to “Advanced” in a single school year . Daily practice coupled with immediate feedback from a teacher is my plan for my student’s success.
A special thanks to Wade Lavigne for submitting this Bitstrips Math activity idea.