Choosing an Effective Math Lesson

choosing an effective math lesson

Math is one of the few academic subjects in which multitudes of students struggle. Often times, students consider themselves either as a ‘math person’ or not, and this notion tends to stick into adulthood. Many of them lose confidence in their math ability, and develop math anxiety. For students who started out enjoying math have a second thought in later education. A 2017 study conducted by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics found that students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs were likelier than those in non-STEM fields to change majors. In fact, 52% of those who initially declared as math majors ended up majoring in something else. But how do we eliminate the persistent ideas about innate math ability? Here are 3 things to consider when choosing an effective math lesson!


Math Lesson Goals

The first step to math success is to set math lesson goals. According to Stephen Pauley’s Three C’s of Goal Settings, the components to effective goal setting are clarity, consistency, and commitment. Teachers and students should work together and define math goals with specific details and a measurable timeline. To understand where each student individually stands academically, math assessments should be implemented before setting the math goals and throughout math learning. The goals should be challenging in order to maximize motivation to achieve them and satisfaction once they are reached. After clarifying the math goals, teachers should then create lesson content that helps students work towards the math goals. Since goals are not reached overnight, teachers, students and parents should work together and stay committed in reaching them. When a student achieves the goals, it is important to celebrate the math success, giving extra motivation and boosting confidence.


Math Lesson Content

An average US math lesson often contains significantly more topics than other countries’ math lessons such as Japan. US teachers are found to switch from one math topic to another with greater frequency. An effective math lesson, on the other hand, should focus on fewer, high quality tasks. Teachers should make sure students have time to think and process information before moving on to the next topic. Additionally, teachers should allow for re-covering some math content students find difficulties in. A successful math lesson will also make math visible in other areas. By drawing attention to how math is used in other subjects and real-life applications, students may develop different perspectives on the importance of math.


Math Lesson Involvement

An effective math lesson engages students in productive mathematical conversations. By posing math questions that encourage discussion and debate, students are able to provide their aspects of the learning process, explain and justify their thinking, and deepen their understanding in the process. Other creative methods such as thumbs up/thumbs down or classroom response systems to gather information from the whole class or individuals simultaneously assess individual and collective student understanding. A product math lesson also acknowledges the importance of mistakes in learning. By reminding students that errors are expected and natural and encouraging students to ask questions to clarify the reasoning behind the solutions, students recognize mistakes as a good thing that leads to enhanced learning, and are empowered to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.


Looking for a math lesson for your kid? Math Project offers an opportunity to strengthen children’s math knowledge and improve their life skills with our specialized curriculum and specially trained teachers. Contact us today at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment, or visit our website at to know more about our math programs in Katy, Richmond, Cypress, Sugar Land, Missouri City and/or Hillcroft.



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