Helping Kids Fall in Love with Math

Love with Math

According to World Economic Forum, top 3 skills that our students need in 2020 are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Mathematics is not just finding an answer or calculating number but developing those three skills. As a mathematics educator, I believe how students learn the skills not only depends on a mathematic classroom but also an entire school community which include a parent. The school community should provide that all students are expected to learn through active participation, and teachers pro­vide support to engage all students in mathematical tasks. The environment should be one where students are actively involved in doing mathematics or where they can explore AMC competitions and other math tournaments. In this blog, I want to introduce a special school event that helps students to develop complex problem-solving skill, critical thinking skill, and creativity and creates a positive mathematics culture. The event is called ‘I Love Math Day.’ Every year we celebrate Valentine’s day, and it is all about LOVE. This is a great time to celebrate Love of Mathematics with students and parents.

I Love Math Day!

Although it can be any day, February 14 is the day when students enjoy math-related activities and playfully recognize excellent student work after solving challenging problems. With several weeks of problem solving under their belts, students are ready for all the celebration. All day long, students are thinking about math problems, playing math games, and doing all kinds of activities that involve counting, pattern-making, and every form of mathematical undertaking. Parents and adults are invited to school, and students have opportunities to share their best submissions and explain their thinking to parents and adults.

Tips for I Love Math Day

  • When assembling a panel for the first time, it is usually best to keep it simple and organic. Parents in the school community are one of the best sources of panelists. It is fun to help children see that almost every adult uses math productively. Sometimes parents come to speak about a leisure pastime that uses math: baseball and statistics, travel and foreign currencies. Grandparents work splendidly as well. One grandparent was a carpenter, another was a retired teacher, and another was a judge. Almost any connection to mathematics can work. The more creative the connection, the more inspiring the event!
  • Challenging problems should be posed, and the school environment should encourage students to work on them individually and in groups. The problems should also prompt students to perform the fundamental tasks of all skilled mathematicians: ask questions, collaborate, use appropriate resources, draw pictures, make models, try, fail, and try again. Challenging problems are drawn from textbooks, articles, periodicals, current popular math books, and collections of problems, puzzles, comics, and cartoons. Sometimes students will need to work for extended periods of time, and often they should encounter unfamiliar topics. Students understand that each problem will be demanding and will require persistence and creativity. They also know that they can discuss these problems with their parents and teachers. Internet research is permitted. Anything that mathematicians would do is encouraged. Of course, like any good mathematician, they cannot present the work of others as their own. If they receive help, the help should be acknowledged, and the students need to submit a solution that demonstrates their own mastery of the problem and the math concepts involved.


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