Grabbing Attention with Student Inquiry

I have been pretty lazy the last two days, but I have been thinking about the upcoming semester “as a background process.” Right now, my main concern is that I will be teaching at least one section of Math in Decision Making, our liberal arts/quantitative reasoning course. The classes tend to be large (50-60 students), many of the students are either mathmatically bruised or have small motivation for the class.

Usually, I combat this by picking topics to study that I find interesting to let my enthusiasm shine through. Also, I try to sprinkle in a few high energy activity days. That energy comes from me, though. It doesn’t always infect the students. This term, I will try to get a better hook into the students by supplementing our intro days by asking them to ask questions about the subject the activity introduces. I don’t have a better plan, yet. It can be hard to get students to generate meaningful questions when confronted with new material. So, I will spend some time this week thinking about how to support them through this activity.

Tomorrow, Spring 2016 begins in earnest. I have a dangerously large to-do list forming for the week, but I refuse to worry about it until 9am.

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2 thoughts on “Grabbing Attention with Student Inquiry

  1. I’m currently reading a lot about student motivation in mathematics for my thesis, so I’m really interested in hearing how motivation your Math in Decision Making class goes. I tutor a lot of students for that class, and they almost always seem pretty low on mathematical self confidence spectrum.

  2. Hi,

    This seems like a great idea. I imagine that it will take some coaching to get them to ask questions (good ones, anyway). Are you familiar with _The Art of Problem Posing_ by Brown and Walter? That could help.
    Bret

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