Nasco asked Math’s Category Manager Dixie Weidman several pertinent questions about the evolution of Math and the challenges teachers face.
How has learning Math changed in the last 10-20 years?
Learning and teaching math has changed dramatically and is challenging our teachers and students. Standards have become more rigorous, and what was once being taught in middle school (Algebra and Geometry) is now being taught in upper elementary. Students are now being asked to look at multiple ways to solve a problem, so focus is no longer on memorization. Along with all that, the implementation of more common standards has not gone as smoothly as hoped, forcing teachers to adapt to new curriculum changes more often.
How can Math classes be turned into active learning areas?
There are a number of ways Math classrooms are turning into active learning centers. One way is creating collaborative/team classrooms. These would entail learning centers and stations, incorporate project-based learning, and STEM. The benefit of active learning centers is that they let the students learn and explore math outside of book learning.
What is the benefit of going to Math Conferences?
There is no doubt that going to math conferences encourages collaboration with other teachers. You can get inspirational ideas for teaching in the classroom, not only from the workshops, but also from connecting with others. Suppliers in the exhibit hall also have many great solutions for the classroom. Conferences are opportunities to share your voice, as teachers inspire suppliers to find solutions for the classroom.
How can Math be applied to every day experiences?
These days the ways are endless. Math enables you to balance your bank account and budget, grocery shop, calorie count, cook, figure out distances, and time measurement. Math is used in everything from building skyscrapers and gardens to parking lots and interior design. Learning math skills also strengthens your ability to think logically and solve problems in other areas.
A current Forbes article (https://goo.gl/4eWbcg) states, “Believe it or not, math is changing. Or at least the way we use math in the context of our daily lives is changing. The way you learned math will not prepare your children with the mathematical skills they need in the 21st Century.” Do you agree?
I believe that skills needed for jobs currently and the future are changing. Critical thinking and technical skills will become more of a focus. I strongly believe that math helps to build both. More focus on having the ability to use and manipulate programs and computer software. Take my job for instance: Excel is used for data analysis and metrics. I need to know how to input the right formulas to create the calculations needed. This was not a common practice 20 years ago.
How can teachers prepare for the future of Math?
I have no doubt that standards will continue to evolve and challenge our teachers. My advice: Never forget why you are teaching. Once you develop your “why” it will help you meet the needs of your students. Remember the need for hands-on lessons. Continue to use manipulatives. Incorporate more projected-based, collaborative environments. Include real-world applications/projects. Allow students to explore concepts. Remind yourself and students that mistakes are expected. Keep trying, you will get there.
What is the benefit from ordering Math supplies from Nasco?
We are listening. We understand your struggles and are continually looking for solutions. Our team takes the time to select the right manipulatives to aid in teaching the tough concepts in your classroom. We recognize the need for ideas on how to use manipulatives that we offer or that you may already have in your classroom. Take advantage of our free MathWorks lesson plans.
Have questions about Math? Give our Customer Service experts at call at 1-800-558-9595. We can help!