# Was Math Your Favorite Subject?: Learning to Make Mathematics Fun (and Applicable)

I admit it: Math was not my favorite subject in school. What was? Science. Why? Because I love animals. I love the trees and mountains and oceans and deserts; I love to watch the patterns of change in nature. I marvel at the diversity of life that has evolved on this Earth.

Still, math captured my attention, if not my interest, because in elementary school, a teacher told me that math was a tool of science. Well, then, better learn math and at least get a decent grade!

However, when I was in elementary school, I was taught math one way: through algorithms -- solving equations step by step -- in which there was one right way to get to the answer. I was okay at memorizing the steps, so I did well on math tests. I admit, though, that I never really understood the conceptual underpinnings of how math works or why following these prescribed steps led to the answer. I was one of those students who memorized for the test and then promptly forgot the math. Why? Math was not taught in context, and I never really figured out how to apply it fully to science.

Do you know if your students truly understand how math works or how they can apply it in the real world? Do you want them to like math? If so, take a hint from some great teachers who've integrated mathematical thinking and concepts with other subject areas. They teach math through solving problems in the context of real-world projects or problems:

Professional Development Adds Up: Integrating Integers Across Disciplines

Geometry in the Real World: Students As Architects

Leapin' Lizards!: Students as Data Collectors

Have great ideas about teaching mathematics? Share your story.

## Comments (16)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

I have always loved math. I understand how those of you that do not like math feel. Now that I am a Math teacher, I tell my students two things; 1) Use whatever method helps you to remember the process. I use money for many concepts. and 2) If someone shows you another way to find the answer and it works for every problem, you may use that way if it works for you. My way of doing math is not the only way.

Whenever I give my students a project, I try to relate Math to the real world. I also give the students a lot of creativity freedom so that the students will enjoy completing the project.

My hope is that my students will appreciate math. As I tell them at the they do not have to love math but they have to use math everyday of their life. It is great when I have students challenge that statement.

I really think math us useless after about 5th grade, unless u are trying to major in some class to get a degree that is math or requires. People say all the time,"You need math to go somewhere in life!" But I ask to what exstent? I mean what fire fighter is going to need to need algerbra to bust into a house and save someone? he wouldn't be like,"Well the house is "a" and the wood inside is "b" and the fire is "c"." No way I think math over 5th grade is a waste of time and energy and all it does to students like me is bring my GPA down and makes it harder to get into a good collage, I am not even going to school for math I am going to for protective services. If I am a cop all I will need is basic math.(Add,Subtract mult, Divide) advanced math is such a waste and I hate geometry and algerbra it just makes my day harder and brings down my grade I have had to waste 300 dollers for tutors and I still don't get it. MATH IS A WASTE OF TIME.

Andy, I felt the same way you do about math when i was your age. However, as soon as i graduated i found out how important it was in everything you do. Almost every job you apply for requires some sort of math skills....... believe me you are judged by the lack of math skills. The more math the better... do as much as you can. I felt so inadequate so many times because of my lacking math skills. Try to challenge yourself to learn for yourself later in life......I'M SURE YOU ARE VERY CAPABLE AND VERY SMART. PROVE TO YOURSELF AND THE WORLD THAT ANDY CAN DO COMPLICATED MATH TOO! It is something you will never regret. You may think you are only going for protective services but what you are learning is only going to effect you, not them. Try to understand, what you are learning will only change your destiny, not theirs. Make your life count every day in school and out. You can strive to improve yourself daily or just get by. Make it count man, you can't go back and fix this stuff. You must believe you are worth it and you are . You are a bright kid or you would not have posted your message. Now go prove how bright you really are. It doesn't matter your circumstances........ change them. It is your life and no one elses. GO MAKE IT GREAT! No part of an education is a waste of time. Try to have a great attitude about your life in general and you are a great kid.So go have a great life, education and all.... make it fun laugh every day at something even if it is yourself! Be happy and say I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT TO, AND WANT TO. I DARE YOU! As far as the gpa and college, they want people who can rise to the occasion. People with can do attitudes. Life is a team sport.... everything you do affects others and people want to be around winners. Turn around your thinking. Go ask a bunch of firefighters if they think math is dumb and a wast of time or cops if you need a good education. Your not thinking this thru.YOU ARE A WINNER NOW GO WIN!

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