Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
How many times have you heard someone say they're "bad" at math? It’s one of those subjects that’s super stigmatized and, as a result, many students go into class with negative preconceptions.
It doesn’t help that many classrooms are stuck in a cycle of: teach a lesson, do practice problems, assign homework, and repeat.
Want to shake things up? Read through our guide and see how you make math class less anxiety-inducing and more stimulating for your students.
1. Move Content Online: Blended and Flipped Learning
New methodologies are taking advantage of edtech to deliver more engaging lessons and moving away from old-school methods like giving lectures.
Blended learning is the combination of active, engaged learning online with active, engaged learning offline. Think of a classic station rotation lesson, where access to both mediums is equally balanced.
The teacher is able to pull individual or small groups of students who need more help. Teachers can also use the moments when students are applying what they learned to provide real-time feedback as students work.
In the flipped classroom model, the explanation of new material (via video) becomes homework, allowing students to learn 100 percent at their own pace and from the comfort of their own home.
That means that exercises, activities, and projects that were once homework now become classwork. As a teacher, you can then circulate and give your students more one-on-one attention (especially the ones who are struggling).
A common concern about introducing more edtech is that students will spend longer periods of time staring at a screen or working alone.
These methodologies instead use technology in a positive way by promoting collaboration and facilitating differentiation.
2. Give Less Direct Instruction
We’re all pretty familiar with the word 'asynchronous’ nowadays. Lots of teachers are moving from giving live lessons, to recording their instruction on video.
Students will love watching videos and being able to work at their own pace. This gets rid of the stress of keeping up with the rest of the class for slower students and prevents faster students from getting bored when they finish their work early.
When you move content online, you also immediately free up synchronous time (insert NSYNC joke here) to interact with students, work through example problems, and address any misconceptions.
Grades will no doubt go up because students are getting more personalized attention and feedback from their teachers. Everybody wins!
3. Use Video Lessons
It’s one thing to assign students a video to watch. It’s another thing to assign a video lesson! Edpuzzle gives you the superpower of making your videos extra engaging.
You can start by finding an already existing video in Edpuzzle’s virtual video library. Numberphile and Khan Academy are two great YouTube channels that math teachers will love.
The best thing you can do to a math video is embed open-ended questions. Ask students what they notice, what they wonder, what they think will happen if you do x, or simply have them explain their thoughts.
Because open-ended questions don’t have a right or wrong answer, students will be more motivated to think through their answers. This creates a safe and friendly environment for learning that will actually push students to participate!
You also have the option of recording your own video and uploading it to Edpuzzle. Elementary school teachers love it for creating personalized mini-lessons to use in their Math Workshop or to use during remote learning.
Middle and High School teachers can record video showing themselves completing a problem incorrectly and asking students to identify and correct the mistakes. One you upload the video to Edpuzzle, you can embed questions in the exact moments that you prompt students.
Students can respond to an open-ended question at the end of the video to assess your entire solving process. They could also respond to questions throughout the video to state whether they agree or disagree with each step and why.
Whether you use existing videos or make your own, embedding questions holds your students accountable for their learning.
Want more examples? Check out our Edpuzzle for Math Teachers webinar and see how to make a math video lesson step-by-step!
4. Make More Time for Practice
What do you do with all the free time that video lessons have given you? Easy! Have students practice what they've learned.
Give your students opportunities to engage in creative math tasks that are open to interpretation and don’t have a concrete answer.
Try running a number-talk to help students see that math is creative and has many correct approaches. Use warm-up problems (we love these) that encourage all students to bring their ideas and observations to the table.
Blocks, puzzles, card games, and video games are other great activities to include in class. Playing games with dice and numbered squares improves basic math skills and can ease student anxiety over math.
With Edpuzzle Live Mode, you can start leading math discussions. Embed your video with reflection questions or comments throughout and then watch it together as a class. Students’ responses are displayed anonymously so you can use these pauses to start a conversation about their answers.
With these strategies you’ll find students eager to discuss math and engage in class. Flip your class today and see how Edpuzzle can help you!