Do you remember the day you decided you were no good at math?
Or maybe you had the less common, opposite experience: a moment of math excitement that hooked you for good?
Thousands of studies have been published that touch on the topic of “math anxiety.” Overwhelming fear of math, regardless of one’s actual aptitude, affects students of all ages, from kindergarten to grad school.
This anxiety extends to the daily lives of grown-ups; we put off planning for retirement, avoid trying to understand health risks and even try to get out of calculating a tip. And even teachers suffer from math anxiety, which has been shown to hurt their students’ scores, especially when the teachers and the students are both female; the theory is that anxiety interacts with negative stereotypes about women’s abilities.
When Frederika Jenner began teaching elementary school mathematics 42 years ago, she realized that she wasn’t fully prepared. “I didn’t have opportunities to learn innovative ways to teach mathematics,” she said. “There were some important skills and strategies that were missing.”
Jenner is now president of the Delaware State Education Association and her experience at the beginning of her career is just one reason she strongly supported legislation signed in June 2013 by Delaware Governor Jack Markell to increase the rigor of the process of recruiting and preparing teachers and principals. “Educators need more meaningful, real world training,” she said.
It’s time to celebrate Pi! And if the very thought of the irrational number is making you hungry for knowledge, you’re not alone.
Pi Day (3/14) is the unofficial holiday dedicated to pi. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it’s an irrational number, so it can’t be expressed as a simple fraction of two integers. The number starts out with 3.14, but it goes on for infinity!
This special day is also the perfect time to plan STEM-themed activities for your classroom or with your children at home.