Category: Math Study Skills

Learning Notebooks for Online Math Homework

After teaching math at a community college for 10 years (and using online homework for at least 7 of those), I have noticed that my online math students don’t seem to have the same grasp on notation and the steps to “prove” the solution to a problem as when they did old-fashioned paper & pencil homework.  I have also found that the students who use online homework have become much more unorganized, and are unable to find the work for the problems they have questions on.   This last year, I’ve been experimenting with what I call a “Learning...

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Help Students Pay Attention to Test Details

Students lose SO many exam points because they just don’t read the directions and pay attention to details.  On the first exam, they usually discover this … but they don’t REMEMBER it for the other exams. This is a very simple exercise that takes about 1 minute at the beginning of the test. Just have the students repeat after you: I promise … to read all the directions … for all the problems on the exam … And if I finish early, … I promise … to RE-read all the directions … to make sure I haven’t missed some detail … or forgotten to come back to some question I skipped. I understand that … it is not important to finish quickly … it IS important to demonstrate what I know … and once the points have been lost … the points cannot be regained. Believe it or not, this results in a remarkable number of students that stay until the bitter end, making sure that they have been careful and answered every question completely. Possibly Related Posts: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and Curiosity AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and...

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Can we Teach Students to Understand Math Tests?

A few weeks ago, I gave a test where the grades were less than stellar. Whenever this happens, I try to sit down and reflect on whether the poor test grades were a result of something I did differently in class, a poorly written test, or a result of poor studying habits. After careful reflection and analysis of my own, I was pretty sure that this was the result of lack of studying (a theory which was verified … later in this blog post). I was dreading the task of passing back these tests and prepared myself for an onslaught of questions aimed at trying to discredit the test (or the teaching).  Then I got one of those great last-minute ideas that come to you right before you walk in to face the students.  Maybe I should let them “pick apart” the test BEFORE they see their own tests.  The class in question is Math for Elementary Teachers (MathET) and I figured that a detailed test analysis would not be an inappropriate topic for us to spend class time on. First, I made some blank copies of the test (enough for each group to have one).  I also created a handout with every single learning objective and assignment that I had given the students for each of the sections on the test (these are all available in their Blackboard...

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How to Study for a Math Test

The Fall 2009 Calculus class at Muskegon Community College was tasked (by me) with learning how to study for a math test and then making presentations or videos to help other students. The students started by doing their own Internet research, and then were placed in groups of 3 to focus on a particular topic. Each student was asked to interview a math instructor as part of the project to find out the details of the particular study strategy they were assigned. Their projects generally fall into three categories: General Organization, Note-taking, and Time Managment Specific Study Strategies that can be used Managing Stress so that you have a good test-taking experience All of the projects can be found on their website: How to Study for a Math Test. It’s a nice resource written by students for students, and I hope that many of you will pass it on to your classes. Possibly Related Posts: Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Clickety Click Click: Awful Measures for Learning The Importance of Findability for Learners Learning Math is Not a Spectator...

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Math Study Skills Evaluation

Last week I was in Denver for a 1-day math conference and one of the speakers was Paul Nolting (who has written several books about math study skills). One of the resources that he passed along to us was an online Math Study Skills Evaluation.  Paul suggested that rather than discussing a bad test during office hours, you have the students take the survey and bring the printout with them for discussion during office hours. Although the survey printout refers to specific pages in Paul’s book, Winning at Math, it also tells the students a bit about why this particular behavior might be causing problems.  Here is an example of the results: Especially for those of us that teach developmental math courses (although good for any student that is struggling), this survey would be a great activity to do right after the first exam.  Our students often focus on not being “smart enough” to do math, and this should bring the focus to the student not having the appropriate study skills. Possibly Related Posts: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and Curiosity AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and...

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