Inga Lapiņa – “Learning math through real life situations”
Please read the success story
Teacher Inga Lapiņa has been working as a primary school teacher in Tukums 2nd elementary school for 23 years. She has been teaching students aged 7 to 11, teacher Inga helps them to learn Latvian, maths and science. In primary school there are 30 students in class and it has always been a great challenge to keep students focused on their work and at the same time provide individual support for each student, keep them engaged and achieve good results. Teacher Inga likes to use IT technologies in her lessons pretty often and she also take advantage of students’ skills to use the smart devices by giving them homework on the internet (e.g.uzdevumi.lv).
In her classroom there are students with low motivation to learn, which causes problems in developing mathematical skills and achieving good results. In order to make the learning process more interesting and exciting, it is important to engage students in the use of technology starting from primary school. Sometimes students have a problem to relate maths tasks to real life, so the lessons are planned using a variety of methods and forms of collaboration (work in pairs and group work) and practical work outside the classroom (collaborating, planning, moving, measuring, calculating).
In order to succeed in the classroom, pupils are divided into groups with different levels of knowledge and motivation. Practical activities help students to develop their mathematical skills and increase their ability to relate tasks to real-life situations. For this reason, the teacher plans a lesson outside the classroom, linking mathematical tasks with science and information technology. This type of method strengthens pupils’ collaborative skills, as pupils with a better achievement in maths can help those who have difficulties understanding the given tasks.
The measurements that students obtained as a result from practical activities of the task were summarized using the features provided by MS Excel – input of data into a table, compilation and depiction of results in a chart.
During the lesson teacher observed that less motivated students actively engaged in planned and organized activities which are related to the development and use of mathematical skills in real life situations. The pupils confirmed that the lesson was interesting and practical activities and the use of IT helps to understand maths better.
It is important for the teacher to dare to step out of his comfort zone and usual environment, not to be afraid to use new technologies to achieve better math results. Change of the environment and engagement of practical activities also increase the students’ motivation to learn.
Questions for reflection:
- How can group work help students with lower motivation?
- What methods should the teacher use to encourage students’ activity in the lessons?
- How can a teacher notice and measure student achievement in class?