M.A.T.H. Tips: Vol. 5

7 Tips for Setting up a Successful Semester  

  1. MWT-10660016During the first week or so of classes use an icebreaker exercise, have students name something unusual or unexpected about themselves or their favorite TV series or animal. This will help you learn your students’ names and will foster community building in the classroom. Be sure to start with an anecdote about yourself!
  2. Research shows that discussion is an integral part of learning. Help students set up study groups by creating a discussion board for study groups in your LMS or offer points for students who form and participate in study groups. Organize study groups by major or by birthday to help form communities.
  3. Students often believe that attending lecture is synonymous with learning. Remind students that learning is not a spectator sport. Watching videos and attending lecture are all parts of the learning process, but learning comes when they do the work. Place a quote on your syllabus: Math class is like [insert favorite skill]: you don’t get good by watching.”
  4. Many students come to college with poor time management skills. Have a homework assignment where they fill out an hourly planner for the week of all their activities and responsibilities. This helps them see where they have time to study. Ask them to identify a homework routine of at least 50 minutes of math 5 days a week.
  5. A successful semester starts by setting an upbeat, professional yet community based tone on the first day of class. Remember that students feel and respond to passion. Don’t be afraid to revel in your geek! Start class with energy and enthusiasm, if you love what you do your students will have fun!
  6. Use the fact that students are grade and point focused to setup successful behavior patterns early in the semester. Add attendance as portion of their grade or offer bonus points on the final exam for perfect attendance and on-time arrival.
  7. Some students are afraid to come to office hours for fear of looking silly or bothering the instructor. Try renaming your office hours as Student hours or Topic review sessions, small vocabulary changes can help timid students make the leap and seek out help.

Watch: Updated: Math Inspired Movies/TV Recs

E7TW0AUnwind and find new Music, Movies/TV Series and Trivia that you and your colleagues will enjoy and fresh things you can share with your students! Come ‘on – you know you have something you should share!  Send us your favorite Math-inspired recommendations for music, movie, TV, games, jokes, and gifts/shopping – your colleagues are counting on you!  Email us at:  successinmath@college.mheducation.com

WATCH: Recommended Movies

The Imitation Game – During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code.

Agora – A movie about the 4th century A.D., astronomer and philosopher Hypatia

The Man Who Knew Infinity – The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indianmathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan

The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms on Netflix a one-hour documentary where Marcus Du Sautoy reveals the hidden world of algorithms and how these 2,000 year-old problem solvers work.

Have you seen? Fermat’s Room  Watch Trailer

The Bletchley Circle on Netflix about women codebreakers in WWII

TED Talk: The Mathematics of LOVE.  The math of how to find the perfect partner.



Fun: Trivia for Cocktail Parties. Read on.