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Project Home: Making Math Accessible

ETAP 623 Spring 2014

source: s-MATH-ANXIETY-large.jpg

Intent of Project

The intent of this mini-course is to help math teachers find ways to reduce barriers to students learning mathematics and to find strategies that aid in motivating students to learn the subject.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this mini-course the learner will be able to:

  • Identify potential barriers to students learning mathematics
  • Select strategies to minimize those barriers
  • Select and apply appropriate motivational strategies

Needs Assessment

Instructional problem

Mathematics is a subject area that a large proportion of students consider to be hated, difficult, scary, boring, or a plethora of other similar terms. With this in mind, there is a need for mathematics teachers at all levels to be aware of and utilize methods that make mathematics interesting, relevant, attainable, and not a source of anxiety for their students.

The nature of what is to be learned

Instructors will develop tools and strategies to better connect the material to their students as well as methods to help overcome student obstacles to learning mathematics.

About the learners

Mini-course participants are mathematics instructors at any level that would like to find ways to better engage their students or assist struggling students.

Instructional context

This mini-course is self-paced and completely online. There are many exercises and activities throughout as well as supporting materials and references for further study. It is up to the learner to fully engage in this mini-course.

Performance Objectives

  • The learner will be aware of the various reasons that students fail to learn mathematics.
  • The learner will be able to suggest strategies for a student that is anxious over difficulties with mathematics.
  • The learner will be able to utilize strategies to draw out student misconceptions and select strategies to aid in clearing up such misconceptions.
  • The learner will be able to teach strategies to students to more effectively study.
  • The learner will be able to suggest classroom strategies that better engage students.
  • The learner will be able to find or construct activities that connect with student experiences and demonstrate the usefulness of the subject matter.
  • The learner will construct a lesson plan that incorporates the above ideas.

Curriculum Map


Course Outline

Lesson One: What keeps a student from learning and appreciating mathematics?

This lesson looks at the difficulties encountered by students and common barriers to learning mathematics.

Lesson Two: Working with disabilities and anxiety in math.

This lesson focuses on the handling of misconceptions, considerations for students with disabilities, ways to handle math anxiety, viewing mathematics as a language, study skills, and problem solving strategies.

Lesson Three: Motivating Mathematics

This lesson is about how to make mathematics instruction interesting and engaging as well as looks to the importance of showing students that what they are learning serves a purpose.

Final Assessment

Here the learner is asked to construct a unit plan that incorporates ideas learned in the preceding lessons.


References are included throughout the mini-course and linked to provide further information.