The power of visual aids in Math classrooms3 min read

September 29, 2021 3 min read


The power of visual aids in Math classrooms3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Monica Kochar

Can we use videos as a teaching tool for something as practical as mathematics? Here’s an example of how Quadratic Equations can be made relevant and interesting.

Using videos is a long-used teaching tool but it’s not always the most successful. When we hand out a video to students to learn from, often teachers claim that the students are not really learning or we do not know how to test if they have actually learned something.

I think when a video is handed out, one of the ways we can make it interesting for students is we have a good leading question to help them understand what they need to look for. Otherwise, most students don’t understand why they’re being made to watch a video and the effect is lost. I decided to try this approach.

My Lesson Plan

1. I gave students a YouTube video on applications of quadratic equations and asked them to watch it with their workgroup. The idea behind giving this video involves the following thought:

“When am I ever going to use this stuff?” This is a common student question that is easily answered here.

This episode of Math In Action features Sgt. Rob Krider of the CHP MAIT (California Highway Patrol Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team) discussing how they use mathematics at the scene of an accident to determine the speed of the vehicles involved. Sgt. Krider uses measurements, an equation involving square roots and unit analysis.”

2. Along with the video, I gave them a handout with some questions on it:

  • How many individuals do you see in the video?
  • What exactly are they discussing?
  • What is the story?
  • Which Math topic are they using?
  • Write the formula that they use. 
  • Create a word problem where this formula can be used. 

3. I then gave them 20 minutes to discuss the answers and asked them to choose the space that they wanted to work, anywhere in the school (this was pre-Covid times, of course). 

4. After they had workshopped their answers, they came back to the class to have a bigger discussion…And then we moved to the lesson! This made it easier for them to understand concepts and apply it to their studies.

What skills did they learn through this exercise?

  • Information processing
  • Time management
  • Self discipline
  • Team work
  • Managing material 

It’s incredible how much students can learn through a simple exercise.

Author’s Note: Monica is a seeker and an adventurer. As a teacher, trainer and curriculum designer for math, she has always pushed boundaries and brought about a change wherever she has worked.

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