Monthly Archives: November 2015

Making Math Magical

Although I am very logical, technical, and serious about teaching, many people (especially my students) are surprised to discover that I also have a whimsical, theatrical side… and a sense of humor.

I think bringing these things into the classroom  can be extremely powerful.  Who doesn’t like fun? Who doesn’t like to laugh? Plus, cognitive science tells us that things are more memorable when:

  • they are new/novel experiences
  • they inspire some sort of emotional response (surprise, shock, laughter, joy… even fear or disgust)

Fraction math is one area that has always seemed a bit esoteric and ambiguous to the kids –not to mention understanding why fraction multiplication and division are so useful and important.  One of those realms is in scaling recipes (chefs and caterers constantly multiply fractions)… but why make some regular old food recipe* when you can bring some magic into it?Wilybeard

Introducing… Potions 101!  A simple but fun math activity/practice/assessment hosted by our “substitute teacher” for the morning: Dr. William Wilybeard, Professor Emeritus, Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

* I do, in fact, have another character who reinforces fraction math via creation of actual food… like gingerbread minions!  His name is Dr. Friedrich  von Kookie, but that’s for different post..