I would say math is probably the class that gets the following question the most: “Why do we have to learn this stuff? Teachers may or may not have an answer that satisfies the student. Then, there are the countless hours teachers may spend trying to create interesting lesson introductions and activities. Therefore, this site is an idea turned into a website to help my colleagues teach Intermediate Algebra and share research supporting the components of the website.
I teach online developmental math courses from Pre-Algebra to Intermediate Algebra. So, the purpose is to provide a site that provides sources to grab students' attention and show relevance in the form of videos to show at the beginning of each topic or chapter. In addition, online activities and games are paired with each chapter. Ultimately, teachers will be able to refer to the site for their traditional or online classes by using it directly or via links without spending hours searching the web. I have done the "leg work" for us by searching the web, organizing the information.
On each web page, educators will find one or more videos, activities, games, and a little humor. Keller (2008) stated, “in order to have motivated students …the instruction must be perceived to be relevant to personal values or instrumental to accomplishing desired goals” (p. 176). This necessity of relevance can be fostered “by activities that match students’ motives and needs” such as providing options and building familiarity Banas (2017, slide 3). The videos, activities, and games will fulfill this need. In addition, Renaud & Wagoner (2011) stated that “well- designed educational games supplement instruction by allowing students to develop critical thinking and problem -solving skills and learn by failure without embarrassment” (p.59). Next, related humor to the topic is shared. Matarazzo, Durik, and Delaney (2010) stated, “humor might increase learners’ task interest because humor can make a task feel more pleasant. Consistent with this, students report that they like humor and feel more energized for task performance when it is present” (p. 294).
Finally lagniappe, something extra, yet, it is essential. Gillenwaters (2017) shared Marzano’s strategies for adding rigor which included finding successful people from your students’ culture and stories where people did not give up (module 3, slide, 3). Also, Ford (2014) stated, “…educators must ensure that culturally different students learn about themselves in rigorous and relevant ways… goal of all students [to have] mirrors and windows in their educational experiences—books, literature, visuals, media, guest speakers …” (p. 59).
Therefore, I have included websites to facilitate this goal in the classroom. Then, on the About page, I share about the ARCS model for student engagement and motivation.
The completed work provides a rich resource for developmental math and K-12 teachers. The videos help students see the connection between math and the real world. The activities and games allow students to practice or apply what they have learned in a novel manner, and the humor adds a little comic relief. Plus, extra resources to include cultures of all students.
Banas, J. (2017). Student Engagement: Module 3: Part 2: Designs and Applications. American College of Education, PowerPoint [slides 1-6].
Ford, D. (1993). An investigation of the paradox of underachievement among gifted black students. Roeper Review, 16(2), 78-84.
Gillenwaters, B. (2017). CI5103: Curriculum and instruction design for diversity: Module 3: Instructional models: Part 3: Rigor. American College of Education,
[PowerPoint, slide 8].
Keller, J. M. (2008). First principles of motivation to learn and e3-learning. Distance Education, 29(2), 175-184.
Matarazzo, K. Durik, A. and Delaney, M. (2010). The effect of humorous instructional materials on interest in a math task. Motivation and Emotions, 34(3),
Rjanaud, C., & Wagoner, B. (2011). The gamification of learning. Principal Leadership, 12(1), 57-59.