To help students in grades K-12 approach math with creativity and enjoyment, YouCubed, a Stanford University center that provides research-based resources for teaching and learning mathematics, has released a series of free lessons in time for back to school. The Week of Inspirational Math (WiM) lesson series for teachers, parents and students includes five lessons that offer students open, rich mathematics experiences that inspire creative thinking and a growth mindset. The lessons are accompanied by five motivational videos created by Stanford University mathematics education professor Jo Boaler and her undergraduate students.
Last year, a similar set of lessons for the WiM was downloaded approximately one-third of a million times and used in every state across the U.S. When surveyed, 98 percent of the teachers said their students were engaged when working on the lessons and 96 percent of the students surveyed said they now believe they should keep going even when work is hard and they make mistakes.
The lessons were developed by Boaler and the team at youcubed. They encourage creative mathematical thinking, as well as visual mathematics incorporating fingers, manipulatives and motion in teaching and learning various concepts, as suggested by the latest brain science. The lessons provide opportunities for students to draw, visualize, discuss ideas and work with models in mathematics – teaching mathematical ideas visually through pattern study and generalization. The lessons ask students, at regular intervals, how they see mathematical ideas and ask students to represent mathematical ideas in a multitude of ways, such as through pictures, models and graphs.
“The Week of Inspirational Math resources engage students as creative problem solvers and help them develop a growth mindset about mathematics, which is known to aid students in their mathematical development,” says Boaler. “The free, research-based lessons and accompanying motivational videos help teachers, as well as parents, increase students’ mathematics achievement and give them a mindset and approach to mathematics that will help them throughout the year.”
To learn more about Week of Inspirational Math and to access the lessons, visit www.youcubed.org/week-of-inspirational-math-2.