how to promote mathematical thinking
What is the best way to increase student interest and success in math? Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), a Philadelphia-based society, asked over 400 high school math teachers for advice on teaching and learning mathematics.
Michelle Montgomery, the project director of the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge at SIAM, stated that “the good news is that students can succeed in math class with just the right effort and attitude. It is possible to use quantitative skills to solve open-ended, real problems using the mathematical modeling process.
All of the teachers who were surveyed were coaches of student teams that took part in the M3 Challenge. This contest is a national competition on the internet and requires no registration or participation fees. A weekend of mathematical modeling is what thousands of high school seniors and juniors spend in March to solve a real-world problem. Students are given only 14 hours to solve the problem after downloading it. The 13th annual contest was held in 2018.
WHAT THE TEACHERS RECOMMEND
1. Self-assurance is essential. More than half of those who answered the survey (68 percent) stated that their pupils’ lack of confidence is a contributing factor to their students’ failure in mathematics.
2. Inspire a sense of wonder and a willingness to inquire. 66% of those who responded said that the best advice they could give to pupils who want to achieve in math was to pay attention in class and ask for an explanation if they didn’t understand something.
3. It is critical to emphasize conceptual understanding rather than procedural knowledge when assessing student performance.
4. Present pupils with real-world challenges that encourage them to learn math. Students are more interested in solving real-world problems using arithmetic than they are in learning about mathematics, according to the majority of participants (80% of them).
Encourage students to have a good attitude about mathematics.
Math modeling facilitation is not complete without the use of these instructional strategies. Students can create models of real-world problems and then solve them. Lauren Tabolinsky works as the academic program manager for MathWorks. MathWorks sponsors the MathWorks’ M3 Challenge, which aims to make mathematics relevant to students and professionals alike.
Motivation, according to Montgomery of the SIAM, is essential for modeling work. He also finds the variables that have an impact on the problem. There is no requirement for data feeds or alternative approaches. Answers that are based on intuition and justification are all part of the process. What did you end up with? As a result, what happened?
For example, the 2018 M3 Challenge was called ” Better eaten than never: Reducing food waste.” The students
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recognized a problem, which was handled by the organization. Every year, it is estimated that nearly one-third of all food produced for human consumption around the world is left neglected.
To complete the first half of this problem, student teams were asked to apply mathematics to estimate whether or not the amount of food waste generated in a state would be sufficient to feed all of the hungry people. Teams were tasked with developing a mathematical model that could be used to estimate how much food waste a household creates in a given year based on their habits and characteristics during the second phase. The teams were offered a choice between four different sorts of residences.
The teams were then asked to suggest ways that they could repurpose food that was not being used. The teams used mathematical modeling to determine which strategies would be most effective to recycle
the greatest amount of food at the lowest possible price They also took into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of their approach.
These issues are genuine, significant, and difficult to deal with. There are numerous alternatives available to student teams in terms of how they solve problems, what mathematical tools they use to test and develop their models, and how they convey their findings. Because there is so much to do, each member of the team may make a significant contribution.
When students are allowed to model the M3 Challenge issue, it is easy to see how math modeling competitions can help students improve their mathematical competence and confidence.