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Strategies for Enhancing Curiosity in Mathematics
One of strategies for enhancing curiosity in mathematics among students is making use of mathematical manipulatives. Manipulatives are obtained from day-to-day objects used by students. Using this strategy, curiosity is developed through connection of mathematical concepts with sensorimotor understanding coupled with explicit verbal-declarative skills.
Another strategy is making students work in groups. The third strategy is to teach all the students together and have one repeat the procedure to the rest. A reward may be given for correct repetition. Lastly, a teacher may use mathematical problems to create games for which every student would like to be part of. In the effort to become champions in a particular game, the students develop curiosity on how to work with numbers.
Purpose of the Strategies
For successful performance in the games, when using games to create curiosity among children, a child endeavors to learn the rules of the game. Hence, when games are made such that they feature mathematical analogies, children become curious on how they can be able to learn the rules and the processes of determining the winner (Koch, 2010).
The purpose of mathematical manipulative strategy is to make children relate practical scenarios with the concepts taught in mathematics. For strategies of group work and having a single student teach the rest about something that has been taught previously, the purpose is to encourage students to become curious by learning from the mistakes made.
How a teacher can apply the strategies in classroom settings
To use manipulatives to enhance curiosity in mathematics among students, a teacher can collect colored beads, blocks, or even sticks. He or she has to make the learners sample together blocks of the same color followed by requesting them to count each set of the blocks in an effort to get their answer.
Based on color differences, students learn that different objects have different mathematical representations. This strategy would make them become curious about other things, for instance, their number in class based on gender. Using gaming strategy to enhance math curiosity, the teacher needs to let the children engage in plays while keeping the record of scores for each session in the form of blocks with one block representing a score.
The blocks for different sessions also need to be different in color. When requested to identify the number of scores in all the games, the main problem would be how to count the total number of blocks. Since the winner will be the team having the largest number of blocks, children are able to have curiosity to understand the precedence of numbers through gaming and the process of determining the winner, which entails addition.
To induce math curiosity by having students work in groups, a teacher may give students a number of sticks to use in the computation of addition problems. Each student in the group is requested to carry out an addition task while explaining to the rest about every step.
When one student completes the task, another student in the same group is requested to also carry out the task. Rewards are given for students who achieve outstanding results. Rewarding not only motivates them but also makes the group members more curious about the process of using the sticks to arrive at the correct answers (Reys, Lindquist, Lambdin & Smith, 2012).
A teacher can also induce curiosity in math by choosing randomly a student to repeat the process of solving a mathematical problem to the rest of the students. This strategy makes students pay attention and or develop curiosity to know how mathematical problems are solved so that, should one be chosen to solve a similar problem, she or he will get it right and get a reward.
Koch, J. (2010). Science stories: Science methods for elementary and middle schoolteachers. Wadsworth: Cengage Publishing.
Reys, R., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D., & Smith, N. (2012). Helping Children Learn Mathematics. Hobokon, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.