Children are no different than adults. We all need motivation and
encouragement. Use relevant issues to motivate them and allow them
to use the creativity within them.
Real-World Issues Motivate Students
Use real world issues. Hunger in Calcutta. Tsunami's in India. Allow
students to become involved in issues like these where they can make
a difference and at the same time you can use math in every decision
What about math games?
There are many math games to play. From board games, card games,
online games, video games and the list go on. Through the use of games
students learn that it can be fun to use math. That it isn't just
a serious activity. Try using the speechless game. They are not allowed
to speak or make a noise, but have to go and write answers on a white
Allow the students to design something they like and have a passion
for. For boys perhaps a kite, for girls a dollhouse. When you draw
them into making and designing something useful to them, they will
see math in a different light. It will motivate them to learn more
and to use it in what they like.
Use a reward system
What about using a reward system. Take the students on outings or
set up a bank system where they earn rewards for accomplishing certain
math skills or tasks. Then they can make deposits or withdraw and
learn other basic skills as well.
Disease and medicine
Disease is a part of life, and even many students are battling with
some form of it. Identify a certain disease that students are battling
with and allow them to do a research on this and motivate them to
use their math skills to come up with usable suggestions.
Water is a part of our lives. We need it to survive, but most of
our water sources are polluted. Teach them to test the ph balance
in the water, to come up with solutions on how to purify water and
save rivers, lakes, etc... They can use their math skills and even
go out to the different sites and learn many other skills.
Sweets only work for a little while, but genuine praise can motivate
a student to excel in math. Every one needs to feel some sense of
security in what they do. They need to feel pleasure but also prestige.
When you bring that into account they will learn that to do something
for themselves gives a feeling of satisfaction and personal gain.
Lead by example
To motivate students you need to lead by example. It's easy to say,
do what I tell you, but a student will do what they see you do. So
be the one that motivates them trough your example. Tell and show
them how to motivate others by using math.
Encourage students to plan their own activities and outings. They
can draw up charts, use math creatively in any way they can think
off. Then allow them to come back to class and give a full report
of what they did and why. This allows them to take ownership for their
Set up an intern program where students can come and be an intern
for a week. Each one gets a turn to do this. Let them choose for which
subject they want to do internship, then after the week they have
to come back and tell why and how they used math in that project.