Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Math: an Enriching Experience

As math teachers we interact with many types of students with many different talents. In a busy classroom of 30+ students, I admit at times those students struggling with concepts receive a good portion of my attention. However, there is another group of students that are often overlooked and require just as much nurturing and care. 

Known as gifted or enriched students, these students often excel at math and find the daily classroom a mundane experience. They have understand the lesson, helped their peers and master the unit concept with ease. So how can we accommodate them as we might accommodate others? 

One way is introducing enrichment problems in the classroom. I find the Problem of the Week questions from the University of Waterloo an excellent launching point for these young minds. All students should be asked to participate in enrichment activities and one way to do this is assigning a word or logic problem for the week. It is delivered to you weekly and the solution provided the following week. 

This is a fun activity that students and teacher can try to solve together as we can not default to the "teacher answer key". The problems are in line with ministry curriculum and are a great lead into the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) Annual Math Contests. 

For students have easily mastered require concepts these problems and math contests provide challenges and are a great way to further develop reasoning and analytic math skills. 

I require all my students to complete these enrichment activities periodically throughout the semester. Some students may feel intimidated and this is an opportunity to create Math Circles (much like literacy circles) and use peer coaching to guide students through the problems. Many times those students that have average to low marks in the math course excel with problem solving and this provides them an opportunity to shine. 

Challenge your students and yourself by checking out what the CEMC has to offer! 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this resource!!! I actually have a gifted student in my class for the first time and was just thinking about how I could extend her learning and challenge her. I have signed up for the weekly word problems. I love the fact that they also have Grade 5/6 problems. As an intermediate teacher this is always a great thing to use for review or to use for students on modified IEPs. I'm not sure if the problems here will align with the Hamilton-Wentworth delivery plan...that is why I love that they have archived problems from last year. I can then go through and pick problems that fit with what we are doing at the time. I also like to use Grade 9 applied EQAO questions for students who need a challenge. I find that Grade 9 applied can be similar to the Grade 8 materials. If you like stuff like that you might want to have a look at some of the old tests. They're a great resource to prepare Grade 8 students for EQAO. :) Thanks for sharing!!