Spring semester usually means spring break and distracted students. Whether you are post or pre-spring break, here are a few ideas to reignite the spark in your semester and recapture your student’s attention.

  • Find 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 each group identify five ways they use or reference math in a career related to their major. Spend some class time discussing the ways math can be applied by having each group share their results. This can also be used as an online discussion assignment.
  • Let 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, including a topic. Let students work in groups. Once each group is finished, 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.
  • 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.
  • Stop, break, concept check! Concept check breaks can help students synthesize ideas. Before moving on to the next topic, have students explain to their neighbor the concept just covered, or spare a few moments at the end of class for students to review main ideas with each other. Teaching online? Pick a problem and ask students to write down all the concepts needed to solve the problem step-by-step.