- Word problems can fail students if they rely on examples that children can’t relate to in their everyday lives, Chalkbeat reports, and that’s why two teachers, Terrance O’Neil and Tim Livingston, developed math problems that have more context so students aren't stumped before they actually try to solve them.
- The two Houston, TX, teachers will be at the SXSWedu conference March 7 as part of the Great American Teach-Off, giving a mini-lesson live.
- O’Neil says his teaching method is always about including “real-world connections” in his lessons.
Students who don’t see how to apply classroom lessons to the "real world" are in danger of tuning out their education. Weaving real-world examples into learning can help children understand why they’re in school and how these lessons lead to them achieving their goals.
Hands-on goals, whether constructing a building in math class or designing a prosthetic leg for a duck in a technology class, helps students demystify abstract concepts such as math and science while also giving them tangible proof that what they’re doing in school makes a difference. This kind of curriculum, however, does require more resources than a textbook.
For curriculum designers faced with limited budgets, connecting to neighborhood groups is a particularly valuable path, notes researchers from the University of New Hampshire. It can not only help students, but lift a community as well.