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Q&A #5199

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Factors that affect girls in math

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From: pat

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002052213:23:42
Subject: Re: math and female

I would like to agree with the sentiments expressed so far and add a couple of comments. First, I think that there are many more boys than we realize who also would prefer a math class that is interactive. I have a son who is a very gifted math student and who might appear on the surface to fit the "all or nothing" description. But he has told me that he would prefer study groups, hands-on work and the opportunity to talk through problems. He and his brother would also like to learn about mathematicians and the history of math in school. My point is that maybe teachers would be surprised at how easily they could accommodate the needs of "girls", because if classes were run differently, the boys might actually find they like it. And after all, girls have had to rough it for years in the wrong kind of classroom, so maybe we should not worry so much about what we THINK the boys want!!! Second, I want to pass on a comment that I have heard from many middle school girls (and also some boys) about math. At this age, they want to know WHY they should bother with math. What difference is it going to make to them later? No one actually uses this stuff, do they? I think that math classes would do well to bring math into the real world with examples and real-life projects becasue this feeling that math has no purpose is a big reason for apathy toward the subject.

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