Q&A #6107

Motivating secondary students

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From: Kimberley (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Apr 10, 2001 at 18:04:03
Subject: Re: Motivating secondary students


I teach students age 14-18 years old and find that one of the strategies which 
works well is to have them become an active part of whatever we are learning.  
For example, today we were studying the volumes of prisms and pyramids.  They 
already knew how to find the volume of prisms but weren't sure about how much 
smaller the volume of a pyramid with the same size base would be.  I had some 
open topped plastic models of such figures.  Using colored water, they filled 
the pyramids and poured the water into the prisms.  They "discovered" that 
three pyramids filled one prism and so could then find the volume formula for 

Some topics lend themselves better to doing these type of activities and some 
teaching materials are written with student exploration in mind.

Another strategy which I use when I want students to practice a new concept is 
to send students in their groups (of 3 or 4) to the blackboard to do problems.  
All the students are at the board (I have enough blackboard space to do this).  
I can be in the center of the room and see what everyone is doing.  It is easy 
to offer suggestions to those that are struggling, as well as easy to listen 
to all their math conversations.  I can also see which students are not 
contributing as much as they are capable.

Perhaps some other T2T associates will have further suggestions.

 -Kimberley, for the T2T service

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