Spring semester means spring break and distracted students. Whether you are post or pre-spring break here are a few tips and tricks designed to re-ignite the spark in your semester and recapture your student’s attention.

  1. STEM_rulers_blueprintsFind the math in your major. Students often have a hard time recognizing the usefulness of the math they are learning. Group students by MAJOR in non-STEM math classes.  Have students work with each other to identify 5 ways they use or reference math or mathematical ideas in their major.  Have each major share their results with the class.
  2. Try the 10-5-5 method of teaching. Lecture no more than 10 minutes before stopping, have students work in groups on a problem for 5 minutes and then discuss the problem as a class for 5 minutes. This method breaks up the lecture and keeps students engaged with the material.
  3. Stop, break, concept check! Concept check breaks can help students synthesize ideas. Before moving on to the next topic have students explain the concept just covered to their neighbor, or alternatively spare a few moments at the end of class to have students to review main ideas with each other.
  4. Chalkboard_problems_SolutionsLet the students create the problems.  To help students understand how word problems are put together, have them craft their own word problems in class. Provide an outline of the elements of a word problem, and a topic. Let students work in groups. Once done collect the word problems and redistribute among the groups. Tell the students not only to try to solve the problem but to identify where the problem could potentially be improved.
  5. Teach the WHY not just the HOW – When a course needs to cover a lot of material sometimes the WHY we do math gets lost. Try to take 5 minutes once a month to explain the why of a concept. Multilayered learning helps student engage with and relate to the course material. (Tips n Tricks videos and articles are a great resource for ideas!)