Q&A #19627

Imagination and improvisation in higher math - How to teach this?

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From: ---
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: Jun 10, 2008 at 21:44:14
Subject: Imagination and improvisation in higher math - How to teach this?


I've ran into an issue with a student that I have not been able to
overcome. I have a student who is slightly autistic (she volunteered this
information) that has retaken Precalculus three times, and I think I've
discovered why she has had so many problems with it, although not what to
do about it exactly.

It appears that when it comes to any math related subject she is incapable
of thinking outside of the equation. If you show her how to perform a
calculation with a given formula, she has no difficulty memorizing it and
repeating it with any given set of values, however when faced with a
problem that uses a very slight modification of the formula in the way the
information is presented, she has no idea how to accomplish the calculation.

Another odd thing about this is that she's a former Art student with quite
a bit of imagination outside of Math. She has passed College Algebra I, II,
and III but has now ran into a wall with Precalculus due to the more
flexible nature of the problems that are given. She passes her homework
with high marks and has slightly above average grades on her quizzes. She
excels at Chemistry.

I'd be grateful for any advice or reading material on dealing with a
situation such as this. She has not given up and neither will I.

Thanks for your time.

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