Promoting the Study of Mathematics by Using Internet Resources in the Technology and Engineering Classroom

By Lazaros, Edward J. | Children's Technology and Engineering, March 2013 | Go to article overview

Promoting the Study of Mathematics by Using Internet Resources in the Technology and Engineering Classroom


Lazaros, Edward J., Children's Technology and Engineering


introduction

The fields of technology and engineering depend on mathematics; therefore, the study of math would seem warranted. Technology and engineering teachers can help students learn to enjoy mathematics and overcome anxiety related to it through interactive mathematic online resources that are available for free on the Internet.

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background

Teaching mathematics is often difficult, and many have anxiety relating to the subject. Math anxiety forms early in elementary school. In some cases, this anxiety starts as early as grade four for students. For some teachers, there is also a level of anxiety since math is a challenging subject to teach and many lack the confidence necessary to teach it. Educators need to fully comprehend mathematical concepts in order to develop the confidence to teach the subject. Working with a mathematics educator as a mentor can assist in this endeavor. Just as students must practice mathematics, educators must also practice regularly to be capable enough to teach the subject matter and help students solve problems they encounter (Scarpello, 2010, p. 59).

Educators must feel confident in their mathematical abilities so that they can instill this confidence in their students. Students will pick up on the confidence the teacher feels and will be better positioned to successfully complete mathematical problems assigned to them. Students need to feel capable, confident, and comfortable with mathematics. One way to instill this confidence is to help students understand that they often use mathematics in their daily lives already (Scarpello, 2010, p. 59-60).

Cavanagh (2008) referenced a study conducted by Robert S. Siegler and Geetha B. Ramani where 124 students played a board game that was similar to Chutes and Ladders. Students were required to count and adjust pieces in the game. After playing the game four times over a two-week period, the student knowledge of mathematics increased greatly. According to Cavanagh (2008), "many children from poor families have limited exposure to board games and simple math-related activities at home. Spending even a small amount of time on fun, basic board games could spark an early interest in math and produce an academic payoff later, some researchers say" (p. 44). Cavanagh (2008) referenced Andy Isaacs, who is the director of the third edition of Everyday Mathematics. He indicated that math teachers can use games to supplement drill and practice problems and use them to assist with developing and reinforcing mathematics skills in the classroom. He noted that some teachers and parents are apprehensive about using games to reinforce mathematics because they feel as though time spent on games could be better spent on drill and practice problems in the classroom.

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For technology and engineering teachers who want to use games to reinforce mathematics concepts in the classroom, there are a multitude of free Internet resources available. Some of these resources include websites that have games for different age levels that assist students with practicing mathematics concepts.

resources

Technology and engineering teachers should consider a free Internet resource called Math Play. The site can be accessed at www. …

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