This Can’t Be Math… I Like It

Sarah McAllister & Melissa McNenly

PITA Conference – Oct. 24, 2008
This Can’t be Math…I Like It!
a.k.a. Teaching Math Affectively – Presented by: Rick Wunderlich

  • Remember to think about what’s happening in students’ heads – it is likely not the same as yours
  • ALL students can learn math
    • As a teacher, it is your responsibility to believe in ALL students
  • Learning = risk taking
  • Steps to Creating a Positive Attitude in Learning:
    1. Create in the students’ mind the importance of the learning – they will only learn to value learning once they trust you. Believe in them.
    2. Give students meaningful opportunities to personalize the learning – they can then begin to take ownership of their learning.
    3. Allow students multiple scenarios to show their learning – many methods to answer, (ex. interviews)
  • There are more ways of testing a student than just with a test
  • Ensure that students know that it is okay to make mistakes and to be wrong.
  • The students that you are teaching are those that will change the world.
  • Often, a mathematician is not a good math teacher. They cannot explain how to get an answer in different ways.
  • Take your students from where they are, to the highest place you can.
  • Link math to global issues – make it meaningful to your students, (ex. climate change, poverty, hunger, disease)
  • Example of an Activities/Games:
    • Ask students what their favorite meal is – they can then create their own restaurant from scratch. This includes mapping out the area, the prices, the menus, purchasing product, etc. Use a space they know, such as the class room.
    • Yahtzee!
    • Crib
    • Monopoly
    • Tally the amount of hours spent on electronics
  • Good ‘lines’ to use with students:
    • “Something tells me you’re good at this..”
    • “You have to bear with me, you may not like this but..”
    • “You’re allowed to be wrong..”
    • “How would you begin..”
    • “Don’t cheat – I can’t help you then”
  • Using games for teaching math is very powerful as is working in groups. Students come to believe that they can do math, that math is important, and that math is all around them.
  • Assessment:
    • Assess less, mark better
      • self-assess
      • conversations
      • tests
    • Student’s do NOT mark another student’s work
    • Collect work, photocopy it, have students mark it
  • For Friday’s math class, do something fun!

The above notes were created by: Melissa McNenly – UBCO Student Teacher (
Edited by: Shannon Truesdell – UBCO Student Teacher (shantrues