HackTheMath

This page is a collection of all things Mathematical in my teaching.

It is not about counting (that is Arithmetic which is a mere branch of Mathematics and not the whole set).

It is not about being able to do your taxes and pay your bills. That is Financial Literacy which is a combination of Arithmetic and Common Sense.

Calculus isn’t going to help you become the life of the party.

For Mathematical purists, this page may not be the best landing spot for you. It is not how the Ancient Mathemagicians intended to explain it.

Math is a LANGUAGE. It is a structured and airtight process to make thinking visible. Thinking processes such as critical thought, logical deduction, trend spotting and number patterns. And stuff like Pythagoras Theorem are just platforms to exhibit such thinking.

It isn’t very elegant, because I came up with most of this on my own, but for the floundering souls despairing in Math class, yes it somewhat works.

Hack (Heck) The Math are a series of strategies that I have employed in class to accelerate the teaching. Countless meetings through the years where I had to listen to colleagues moan about how they cannot finish their teaching / their classes are too slow / they are struggling to complete the syllabus, while I seemingly didn’t.

Upon closer examination, I realised that the way I packaged and delivered certain content in a tidy package allowed students to uncover knowledge on their own within a fraction of the time, leaving enough time to master the concepts and for me to provide feedback. For example, for a topic which requires 5 teaching hours, most content would have been covered within one to 2 hours, with the remaining time used to emphasise on skills instead of knowledge. This I thought was a better use of time within the classroom.

I am not writing this to win a Fields prize. Just doing this to hopefully help you make sense of the Math-ness.

Here are the various ways I have packaged topics throughout the years. You may choose to use it wholesale, tweak bits which may be useful, or it may even serve as inspiration to customise your teaching. Either way, I hope to hear from you too if you have ideas to bounce off!

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Every subject, by its nature, has at least one topic which is a bane to itself.

Frustrating to master, requiring an altogether distinct set (or worse still, a multitude) of solving skills, possessing all-too-many perplexing abstracts challenging to quantify, and which do little to address the adage “how can this be used in real life?”

How do you engage the top 10% of your classes?

These students are usually accelerated learners who may enjoy learning at a pace far beyond what you are able to prepare adequately for on a daily basis. Chances are, we end up ignoring them due to the attention lavished on those who need more help.

But there could be a better way for them to be reasonably engaged, without overextending yourself to prepare more material for them.

Don’t let language barriers deter your classes from learning! Despite not having a single person in class knowing the Cyrillic script, this gem of an activity designed by Stefan Fritz provided an invaluable gamified learning experience for everyone.

Does saving up to 50% of teaching hours for this complex and abstract Mathematical strand sound enticing to you? Of course it does!

Find out how Blended Learning and Geogebra could work together nicely to transfer learning ownership to the students!

Using Google Maps to bring a nearby location to life. Sometimes, you don’t need fancy or exotic areas on another planet to bring a lesson to life when the familiarity is required to internalise abstract concepts.

Investigating how variables cause graphs to morph.

Sketching parabolic curves quickly and accurately

Packaging geometrical rules within 5 minutes

How to remember logarithmic and exponential curves

Demonstrate thinking for velocity, distance and speed

An alternative insight into surface area and volume with Google Maps

An alternate way of looking at integration of area under a curve

A humorous way of looking at basic trigonometric ratios in the 4 quadrants

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