Lesson Three: Motivating Mathematics


Return to: Making Math Accessible or ETAP 623 Spring 2014

Previous Lesson: Lesson Two: Working with disabilities and anxiety in math

source: http://www.motifake.com/math-demotivational-posters-38470.html

Lesson Objectives and Overview

The goal of this lesson is to bring out ideas for teachers to more effectively reach their students via using different approaches, making the material more interesting, making the material more relevant to students, and demonstrating the use of the material.

Make the problems relevant to students

When designing and selecting problems for the classroom use problems that are relevant to the students life outside of the mathematics classroom. Use things such as activities students like to engage in, shows students like to watch, or other things relevant to the students life at present.

Follow the link below and look at the probability example given under Open With A Hook, this resource also has other ideas for making mathematics more interesting for students.

[Five Ways to Make Math Lessons More Engaging]

Then follow the link below to view a video based on the same sort of idea for a younger group.

[Making Math Fun Video]


After following the links above consider activities that your students partake in and think of a way you could use that as a launching point for a lesson with your students. Design a short lesson plan based on this idea.

Make the Delivery Interesting

One way to grab students attention is to present it in a way that they find interesting or engaging, maybe in a medium that connects with where the students are. Examples of this may include:

  • A demonstration with physical phenomena. [Video Link]
  • Or whatever unique method you may have from your skill set as a teacher.


Explore some of the links above for examples of each. Then design a lesson that involves a unique approach to a mathematics concept that you will likely teach your students.

Demonstrate Usefulness and Application

A question students often ask is, when am I ever going to use this? If students know that there are good reasons for learning a concept they are more likely to engage in learning such.

Examples of math concepts in use

  • Using geometry and multiplication to find area or volume for a project like carpeting or filling a pool with water.
  • Addition and subtraction in monetary exchanges.
  • Trigonometry in surveying.
  • Using ordering in ranking athletic events.
  • The use of statistics in sports.
  • Using probability at the casino.
  • Using financial math to plan out budgets and financing.
  • The list goes on...

Careers That Require Math Skills

Students may have interests in certain careers in the future, being aware of the careers that use math and how it is used in those can be of help. Follow the links below for more on this.

[We Use Math]



Consider a topic in a course you are likely to teach. Find examples or real world applications and careers that use the ideas from that topic.

Additional Resources

[Strategies for Motivating Students in Mathematics]

[Math Nook]

Next Steps

Continue on to Final Assessment: Motivating Mathematics