Does super man belong in math?

In my experience with elementary level students, I am constantly amazed by these kids imagination. However when it comes to math i find myself frustrated that their minds wander so much. Sometimes i want to just be like, "Super man and unicorns are not a part of math! pay attention!!!!" Reality is, that just doesn't help. I began trying to revamp my ways of teaching so that super man could join us in our lessons. I found that using examples that incorporate the child's imagination works wonders. They being to laugh and enjoy themselves when I am tutoring them and the best part is....THEY PAY ATTENTION! The fun examples also help them to remember math concepts when they go to take their tests. It is a win win for everyone. A basic example could be "superman already saved 4 people last week but this week he saved 5 more people from a burning building! So how many people has he saved?" We have taken a basic 4+5=9 math problem and made it fun for them. Sometimes they'll say things like "how about he saved them from a giant dinosaur!?!" and that's when you know that they are engaged. 
Kids aren't interested in the methodology behind math and they need entertainment and examples that they can connect with. I would encourage every tutor to try this technique.


I really enjoyed reading what you wrote about superman and how you've used him to engage the students. Way to go!
I always find it helpful to incorporate real world examples into the content I am teaching. I used to teach math, and I always found it easy to relate student interests to the topics. I now teach reading and writing, and I often relate our content to movies, video games, animals, etc. Making that connection is so important to students understanding what is being taught. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing. I tutor adult ESL conversation and pronunciation and until now worried about tutoring younger clients. I will keep this methodology in mind as I will be meeting my first elementary age client to be tutoring.
I absolutely agree with you, Kylee S. It does help when you incorporate culturally relevant topics into a lesson on, say, division, which a student who has struggled with math, for example, may not have otherwise found interesting. Like Lauren S.,  when I tutor people in math, regardless of age, I try to include interesting, real-world examples that require applying the concepts that I am teaching or reviewing. Typically with older students, if a tutor discusses how important a particular concept is in real-life situations, they are more likely to make an effort to understand it.
It's said that learning at an early age is reinforced by 'Creativity', while learning at an older age is reinforced by 'Experience'. After a certain age, when the balance begins to shift, you can then rely on more realistic situations. Example: Learning photoshop (software) can be compared to a more traditional methods of scissors and glue where elders (and teens) lack the comprehension to imagine/understand the functions as digital tools. We've all used glue and scissors in arts & craft. A software like photoshop can be taught to many age groups, the same way programming is compared to a language that can be taught to various ages as well. (There are websites where young children publish their simple programs and codes for others to view and test)
I really love your article!  Great way of thinking outside the box!  Congratulations. You are amazing!!!
P.S. I think the same way when I am teaching English. I call it natural learning. I don't waste time with the grammar rules though I do know them. Instead, I ask a student, "Which choice sounds right to you?" Then I say something with both choices.  After a very short time, they get it, and without the frustration of having to learn both the language AND the rules.  Way too much detail!
I love teaching Spanish as a second language, especially children, and usually use photos of the children and their environment to teach new words.
Great ideas!  Thank you for sharing!  


Kylee S.

Passionate about Math!! Experienced Swim Instructor!!

10+ hours
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