Math Affects Investments in College and Leads to Graduation

A discouraging fact is that many low-income U.S. students today lack the opportunity to study higher level mathematics in high school. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Data, there are close to 3,000 high schools serving nearly 500,000 students that fail to offer Algebra II or higher level math.  For these students, performance on college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT that include higher level algebra questions is negatively affected.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Math Expands the Mind Beyond Equations

We know our math scores aren’t competitive with other developed countries. We all know someone, or we may be someone, who dislikes math. But why does an interest in math matter? Yes, being competitive in the global arena is crucial for our nation’s advancement. Yes, taking a math course is required to graduate. But math helps individuals accomplish much more than an “A” on their exam.

On the most basic level, learning math promotes analytical thinking skills. Dr. Vinod Menon, professor of psychiatry and neurological sciences at Stanford University, has conducted research illustrating how one year of math instruction has significant impact on the brain’s approach to problem-solving as revealed through brain scans of second and third graders.1 As students move through math curricula from elementary to high school, they must learn to apply what they know to new ideas and different types of problems, building more complex thinking processes. Years of math where students work through steps, identify patterns, and apply complex thought processes hardwires the brain for deeper level thinking.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

What Can Be Done to Improve America’s Math Performance?

There is no question that the need to improve American students’ math scores has garnered much attention on a national level. U.S. Education officials have been pushing reform for years now. We simply aren’t going to be able to compete with our global competitors in knowledge-based fields if we continue to fall short in math and science. So what can we do?

Set high expectations

According to the College Readiness report by ACT, students who take the recommended core curriculum for high school including three years of math achieve higher ACT scores than those who don’t, regardless of socio-economic background, race and gender.1

But expectations for students to take and succeed at high level math and science courses in high school must be balanced by preparing them well in early years to do just this.

Our expectations for students to succeed at high levels of math and science need to be rooted in deep learning early on and continued support throughout the years, rather than pushing high level curriculum down the pipeline to earlier grades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

How Math Skills Can Fuel the U.S. Economy

As a result of lost manufacturing and outsource jobs, the U.S. needs to look to the future—to new opportunities and growing markets to be able to compete globally, and all indicators point to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

According to research compiled by the Joint Economic Committee Chairman’s Staff in their report, “STEM Education: Preparing for the Jobs of the Future,” technology innovations have fueled the American economy, with some studies crediting over half of our economic growth in the past fifty years coming from improved productivity resulting from innovation. And the trend seems to be continuing. The demand for workers with degrees in the STEM fields is rising and expected to increase according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Bringing Art to the Classroom for Engaging and Relevant Lessons

Is it mandatory that educators use technology to engage young minds in the digital age?

For many schools and individuals, the terms “student” and “education” have become redefined — and undefined — by digital tools. For example, “students” can still be teens who attend a brick and mortar high school, but they might also be a retired lawyer who takes advantage of Stanford’s free online classes. Some students attend a “flipped-classroom” where they take a lesson at home on YouTube and come to class to do their homework. Some students master activities through gaming, answer tests on their cellphones, and collaborate with peers by developing computer software.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Embracing Science in the Classroom: Teaching for the Brain

The phrase “education reform” doesn’t usually conjure positive feelings, however, emerging research can make thinking about the new possibilities exciting. We live in a time of fundamental change with research that should influence the decisions we make on how to move away from the past and move forward into the future. Neurological research is one area that is taking us beyond simply teaching and learning and showing us the how behind teaching and learning to develop the most effective practices.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Can Giving Math a Real-World Application Improve Scores?

How do you answer the math student’s favorite question: When are we ever going to use this?

Mind/Shift writer Audrey Watters points to New York Times op-ed writers Sol Garfunkel and David Mumford who say if we want better scores and want students to be more interested, make math more applicable to the student’s life. Garfunkel and Mumford say it’s a fact that different careers need different math skills, and that our education systems should be adjusted to value this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Developing Number Sense: A New Way to Teach Number Sets to Young Learners

If your kids and students are having trouble understanding numbers, it might be the way you’re teaching them. According to the article “Helping Children Understand Numbers,” the process of how we learn numbers is still very much a mystery, but maybe a little less so. The numerals we use today are relatively new, only having been invented about four or five thousand years ago. The short history of math suggests to researchers that our brains haven’t had time to fully evolve to processing these numerals and that math must be an invention of culture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

Everyday Ways Students Can Sharpen Math Skills

Studies show students lose anywhere from one to three months of math skills through the summer, regardless of their socioeconomic status. In the article “Summer of 4+2,” Sarah Pitcock, an official with the National Summer Learning Association, says, “We see a lot of summer reading lists, but I don’t think we’ve seen a tipping point in terms of math loss awareness.”

However, there are many tools and opportunities for students of all ages to get involved with math during the summer that doesn’t necessarily have to feel like they’re sitting in an algebra class on a beautiful summer day. In the article “Summer of 4+2,” teachers suggested the following activities:

  • play card games
  • have kids find the best price for products at the grocery store
  • let them calculate the tip at the restaurant
  • invent a game with the numbers on license plates

When students use math in an everyday environment, not only do they get to experience the real world application of what they are learning in school, they also sharpen their math skills in a way that doesn’t feel like math. My new book Dollars and Sense: How to Be Smart About Money is another great way for teens to learn about their finances while learning the mathematical, critical thinking, and practical skills involved. Each chapter has a Real-World Math problem and Put Your Math into Practice exercise, as well as additional online resources, that ask students to solve the problems of a maturing adult.

Stay tuned for more on Dollars and Sense as the release date nears.

References:

“Summer of 4+2,” – http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-31/yourtown/29836257_1_national-summer-learning-association-math-skills-summer-reading-lists/2

Share this Article with Your Friends:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
Email Newsletters with Constant Contact