Not A Math Person?

October 16, 2017

Have you ever heard someone say, “I am not a math person” or “I am not good at math.”

A Stanford University Researcher and Professor, Jo Boaler, disagrees with the common notion that in the world there are “math people” and “nonmath people.” She believes that your ability to apply mathematical thinking has more to do with your experiences and opportunities with mathematics.

Mathematics is not just about memorization of basic facts or mastering long division. Mathematics is about patterns and applying patterns to problem solving. Mathematics is about having the flexibility to use a variety of strategies to solve the same kind of problem.

This past summer and throughout this school year, I am enjoying the opportunity to participate in TEAMS, a UNL grant sponsored cohort of Nebraska mathematics instructors. The specific goal of TEAMS is to help teachers to provide students with more opportunities for problem solving. In my classroom, we started our school year with noncomputational problem solving tasks. The tone I wanted to establish in my classroom was that mathematics is more than doing well on fact memorization and most importantly...everyone can be a math person!

Patti Maguire, LMS, 6th Nationals