How to Motivate Students To Learn Math?

9 Strategies for Motivating Students in Mathematics

One of the most important components of mathematics instruction, as well as a crucial component of any curriculum, is motivating pupils to be actively receptive to what is being taught. Effective teachers give equal attention to less engaged students as well as those who are highly motivated. Here are nine approaches that can be used to inspire secondary school pupils in mathematics, which are based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, respectively.


A reward that occurs outside of the learner’s control is referred to as extrinsic motivation. Among these are nominal pecuniary benefits for good performance, peer acceptance of good performance, the avoidance of “penalty” for performing well, praise for good work, and other forms of recognition and encouragement.

Many kids, on the other hand, display intrinsic motivation in their desire to comprehend a topic or concept (task-related), to surpass their peers (ego-related), or to impress their teachers and classmates (social-related). A final objective is a balancing act between inner and extrinsic motivations.

These fundamental concepts serve as the foundation for specific approaches that can be developed and enhanced according to the personality of the teacher while remaining appropriate for the learner’s level of ability and learning environment, among other things. Remember that the tactics are the most important aspects to remember; the examples are only supplied to aid in comprehension of the procedures.


1. Draw attention to a hole in students’ understanding by using the following example: Making pupils aware of a gap in their comprehension allows them to capitalize on their desire to study even more. In this case, you might begin with a few simple activities that include familiar situations, followed by exercises that involve unexpected situations that are all related to the same topic. The more profoundly you demonstrate the misalignment in knowledge, the more effective the motivational strategy will be.

Demonstrate sequential achievement: This strategy is closely connected to the previous one in that it requires pupils to appreciate a sequential succession of concepts. Because it hinges on students’ willingness to improve rather than complete their knowledge, this strategy differs from the preceding one. According to their qualities, specific quadrilaterals lead from one to another in a sequential process, which is an example of a sequential process.

3. Uncover a pattern: Creating a manufactured circumstance that leads students to discover a pattern can often be highly motivating, as students take delight in discovering and then owning an idea, which can be quite motivating. Adding the numbers from 1 to 100, for example, would be a good example. As an alternative to adding the numbers in sequence, students can add the first and last (1 + 100 = 101), then the second and nearest neighbor to the last (2 + 99 = 101), and so forth. It is then sufficient to solve the equation 50 101 = 5,050 to obtain the desired sum. The activity will provide pupils with an insightful experience that will have a long-lasting impact on them. When patterns are discovered by the student, they can be extremely motivating, especially if the student is assisted by the teacher in the discovery process.

4. Set a challenge for pupils: When students are challenged academically, they respond with a lot of energy. When selecting a challenge, extreme caution must be exercised. The problem (if it is the type of challenge that is being offered) must unquestionably lead into the lesson and be within the reach of the student’s capabilities. Precautions should be made to ensure that the challenge does not detract from the lesson, but rather helps to reinforce it.

5. Entice the class with a mathematical conclusion that is “gee-whiz” in nature: There are numerous instances in the mathematics realm that are typically counterintuitive. These concepts, by their very nature, have the potential to be inspirational. For example, a class discussion of the famous birthday dilemma, which results in a surprisingly high chance of birthday matches in very small groups, can be a very powerful encouragement for basic confidence in probability in students. The class will be in a state of astonishment as they witness the incredible—and even unbelievable—result.

6. Describe the usefulness of a topic by using the following examples: At the start of a lesson, provide a practical application that will pique the students’ interest and keep them engaged. Using the example of a plate in high school geometry, a student can be asked to find the diameter of the plate given only a part of the plate that is less than a semicircle as the only information available to him or her. The applications that are selected should be concise and basic to encourage rather than detract from the lesson.

7. Incorporate recreational mathematics into your lessons: Puzzles, games, paradoxes, and even the school building or other adjacent structures might serve as recreational motivation. This type of device, in addition to being chosen for its special motivating benefit, must be concise and straightforward. Students will be able to complete the activity with little effort if they execute this strategy correctly. Once again, the enjoyment that these recreational examples elicit should be handled with care so that it does not detract from the lesson that is being taught.

Explain a relevant story: A story about a historical event (for example, the story of how Carl Friedrich Gauß, when he was ten years old, added the numbers from one to one hundred in one minute) or a made-up circumstance might be effective in motivating children. Teachers should not rush through the presenting of the tale because a hasty presentation reduces the potential motivational value of the technique.

9. Involve students in the justification of mathematical curiosities: One of the most effective techniques for motivating students is to ask them to justify one of many relevant mathematical curiosities, such as the fact that when the sum of a number’s digits is divisible by 9, the original number is also divisible by 9. Before you ask them to defend their mathematical interest, you should make sure that they are familiar with and comfortable with the concept.

Mathematics teachers need to recognize and grasp the fundamental motivations that exist in their students’ minds. Once these motives have been identified, the teacher can use them to optimize engagement and improve the overall effectiveness of the teaching process. In some cases, exploitation of student motives and affinities might result in the creation of contrived mathematical problems and scenarios. However, if such methods inspire genuine interest in a topic, the tactics are eminently fair and beneficial in their use.