Paul Halmos said, “The only way to learn Maths, is to do Maths.” Any Maths teacher would second that. The students who succeed in Maths are the ones who do Maths —a lot of it!
Everyone doesn't agree
What about those students for whom the logical-mathematical intelligence is not their dominant trait. Sitting day after day in a room where the language spoken is not the one which they really understand, they lose connection and consequently interest. They get labelled as - ‘weak children’. But they may be ‘strong sportsmen’ or ‘strong writers’. How about using that intelligence...?
My solution is: sprinkle Maths curriculum with non-scientific subjects, i.e.,integrate Maths with English, Art, History, Sports, Music, Drama or Geography.
Write a letter to a friend explaining how to add fractions with different denominators.
Draw a tiling design using four shapes. It should have two lines of symmetry.
Present dramatically a conversation involving discount.
Search and present information about Mathematician xyz.
Explain to a friend how to split the middle term of a quadratic equation.
It gives the non-scientific students an entry point to relate to Maths. It gives them a sense of relief for there is something that keeps them engaged. It gives them a chance to showcase their talent. All of this leads to them connecting to the subject emotionally. That makes them ‘want to learn Maths’ for Maths classes are fun or friendly.
Which level does this work best?
Middle school, or ages 10 to 14. This is the age when Maths starts getting complex. This is also the age when brain develops fastest and emotions are in an upheaval. This is when capacity for emotional connections are formed or de-formed for a life. So this is the age I choose to sprinkle Maths with creativity using non-scientific subject integration!