How to Reduce Math Anxiety

chewed pencil, math anxiety

The alarm sounds, telling you it’s time to get up and greet the day, but as you slowly wake from your slumber and wipe the sleep from your eyes, a familiar feeling of dread rushes through you in an overwhelming wave.

It’s test day–and even though you’ve studied for hours and scored fairly well on practice exams and homework assignments, doubts assail you and make you question whether or not you’re really ready for algebra.

Math Anxiety is defined as “the panic, helplessness, paralysis, and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem.”

A common phenomenon that affects many, math anxiety is related to performance anxiety and is likely to extend far outside of the classroom if not recognized and proactively managed. Read more »


Mistakes Are Okay! 10 Inspirational Quotes on Mistakes

mistakes, math

You may have heard the term “growth mindset” quite a bit lately. The true power of establishing a growth mindset revolves around the idea that an individual’s abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work, dedication, and the right kind of mentoring.

This idea contrasts the traditional “fixed mindset” approach to learning, which says intelligence is static and we are pretty much born with what we have, for better or worse.

A fixed mindset can be toxic in the classroom, especially in a subject like mathematics. Students can quickly become frustrated or discouraged if they make mistakes, which can lead to a loss of confidence and motivation.

Teachers who embrace a growth mindset will often find students coming out of their comfort zones and achieving more than they ever thought possible. Read more »


6 Summer Math Activities for Kids of Any Age

stopwatch, bike, Imagine Math

Summer is upon us and students across the country are getting a well-deserved break from the rigors of academia. The pleasant weather and time off make summer a favorite season for children and adults alike, but learning doesn’t have to stop just because school is on summer break.

The dreaded “summer slide” in learning impacts all students, with low-income students feeling the biggest hit – losing 2.5 to 3 months of grade level equivalency over the summer months. The impact of summer learning decay is felt largely in mathematics, setting some students up for failure once they go back to school in September.

But all hope is not lost.

Aside from alternatives to traditional summer learning programs (i.e., online math programs), students can continue to think mathematically over summer break by turning everyday activities into math-learning opportunities. Read more »


Slowing the Summer Slide–Part II: Math

summer slide, mathematics, achievement gap, Imagine MathAs we discussed in a previous post, the typical American student enjoys a three-month break from school for summer vacation, providing well-deserved rest from the rigors of academia.

But studies suggest the summer fun may also come at a price.

According to a 2011 study by researchers at the RAND Corporation called “Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning,” summer break – albeit necessary and beneficial in many aspects – could potentially set some students back two to three full months of grade-level equivalency if not supplemented with additional summer learning support.

The RAND study also indicates that the summer slide is more pronounced in mathematics, a subject in which learning decay occurs more rapidly over summer vacation simply because of math inactivity. Students may read over summer vacation, but few practice their math skills. Read more »


How to Build Math-Motivated Students

math motivation, Imagine MathSomewhere right now, a student is struggling with math. But is their struggle productive or pointless? The answer depends on one thing: motivation.

The fact is, it takes patience and perseverance to build any skill, such as phonological awareness for budding readers or math fluency for budding mathematicians.

But when students are motivated to keep going, they’re on a sure path to mastery–even in the middle of setbacks and failure.

What Motivates Math Learning?

It’s a given that no two students are alike. Clearly, what motivates one may not work for another.

Moreover, each student needs a variety of problem-solving skills. In math–as in life–there may be more than one “right” answer. Given the complexity of this process, what motivators are best? Read more »