I've had years of experience with teaching and tutoring math and science, and I've been a student of science and math myself. Some of my students have asked me about strategies for learning math and science concepts that are fun and effective. Here are two quick tips to help you ace that next test or homework assignment. Good luck!
Make connections between what you're learning and what you'd actually like to learn.
This tip is for people who are learning concepts that don't interest them very much (yet) and are interested in lots of other cool things. Are you learning about graphing inequalities but you're not really a fan of pre-algebra in general? Have a parent or a friend make up word problems about real-life situations that would be interesting to you! Don't like geometry but you're a big fan of dinosaurs and volcanoes? Maybe making up your own problems where you need to figure out how the velocity of a rock that was blasted out...
Algebra 2/Trigonometry: http://www.nysedregents.org/a2trig/home.html
Math A, Math B, Integrated Algebra, Other Math: http://www.nysedregents.org/regents_math.html
Earth Science: http://www.nysedregents.org/EarthScience/
I remember going to school and feeling like something was wrong with me because I was good at mathematics. Especially, since nearly every teacher felt the need to re-iterate how girls were not as good at mathematics as boys based on what ever random statistics at the time.
However, I excelled and kept going. I got a degree in mathematics. So, what made me different from all the other girls that got discouraged. Natural ability for mathematics; however, when I reflect that's not the whole story. As I went to college, there were other girls that were great at mathematics, but once again got discouraged. So, what made go on to pursue degrees is Computer Science, Mathematics, and Computer Engineering.
I got the same discouraging information as everyone else, but I kept going. Why?
1) "Fighter" Personality
My personality is such that when someone tells me that I can not do something, then I wanted to fight that much harder to prove them...
As a teacher and tutor of math and chemistry, dimensional analysis is always the way to get from "here" to "there" when one is working with diverse unit systems or just trying to work a path from the givens or knowns to the solution.
As a student, I didn't formally learn dimensional analysis until I was in high school. Yet, little did I know, I had been using it all along. Certainly, though, when I learned to use labeling units and canceling them to my advantage, I had a Eureka moment and both my knack for, and comprehension and appreciation of, mathematics and the sciences blossomed.
For these reasons, I believe dimensional analysis should be taught when fractions are introduced... in fourth grade, perhaps. Just a thought. What do other teachers/ tutors of math and/or science think?
I wanted to share something with everybody which seems obvious to me, but I'm not sure everyone is on the same page.
Have you ever had a terribly boring school teacher?
I bet you have because we all have at some point!
It doesn’t mean that these teachers are all uneducated in their subject, (although they might be…) it just means that either:
A. They aren’t involved enough in their field to have passion for it
B. They don’t know how to transmit that passion to students effectively
To be able to have fun or at least gain respect, understanding, or interest in a subject -
the subject must be presented in an interesting way.
It seems obvious when you put it that simply, but some or most teachers don’t care enough to even pretend to be excited, passionate or involved in their field.
This makes learning from these teachers very difficult, especially if the students are self-sufficient learners.
——That is where...
I am a High School Science Teacher and we deal with a lot of word problems that contain many variables that could fit into many different equations. Here is how I break down the content step by step for my students.
A box is accelerating across a frictionless surface. It is being pushed with 75 newtons of force and the has a mass of 10 kilograms. What is the magnitude of the box's acceleration?
1) You want to identify and label all variables presented to you in the problem.
Ex: F = 75 N, m = 10 kg
2) Identify and Label the Variable the question is asking you to find.
Ex: a = ?
3) List possible known equations that have the variable you need to solve for.
Ex: a = v/t
F = ma
4) Choose the equation that has variables that are known from the problem.
If you are like me, you want to get a head start on things -- "hit the ground running," as they say. What better way than to get started on the new year in academics! I always found that when I was in high school or college, summer reading was very enjoyable. There were no deadlines -- I could nestle up by a tree and read for hours. I recommend giving it a shot.
When it comes to chemistry, what better way to get started than reading some basics. One of my favorites is Bill Bryson's
A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a great overview of science in general. I also recommend John Gribbin's
In Search of Schrodinger's Cat. It is an amazing story about the discovery of quantum mechanics and is a must for all explorers of science.
It is also a good idea to get a chemistry set and do some basic chemistry experiments. It is a fun and interesting activity! A lot of chemistry experiments can even be done in one's own household...
Today, the future depends on you as much as it does on me. The future also depends on educating the masses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, otherwise known as STEM. As a new tutor to WyzAnt, I hope to instill the importance of these subjects in student's lives, as well as, the lives around them.
Besides the fact that, "the average U.S. salary is $43,460, compared with the average STEM salary of $77,880," (Careerbuilder) these subjects are interesting and applicable to topics well beyond the classroom. Success first starts with you; I am only there to help you succeed along the way. STEM are difficult subjects. Yet when you seek out help from a tutor, like myself, you have what it takes to master them.
Please enlighten me on students looking to achieve and succeed rather than live in the past and think I can't as opposed to I can. We can take the trip to the future together, one question at a time
Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer...
...because it teaches you how to think.
Knowing how to program is an incredibly important skill that is becoming more and more valuable as technology is becoming extremely important in our everyday lives.
And even if you don't plan to be a tech-savvy computer geek who is shaping the future, programming can still greatly help you reach your goals.
I have met many mathematicians, biologists, chemists, statisticians, and accountants who used their programming knowledge to make programs that help them reach their goals.
Many scientists who conduct research program their own applications that help them conduct research or properly store/interpret data.
I have met accountants who used programming to make Excel application tools and other database tools.
If for no other reason, one...
I'VE STARTED TEACHING MYSELF LINEAR ALGEBRA.
Oh Glob, let us pray. Hahahahaah.
Once, once, ONCE: over spring break this year I tried to truck through the MIT Open CourseWare once before in my life to try to learn it all in a week. A heedless youth was I! But half my students and half my friends are taking summer classes, so I wanted to try something with my brain. I'll try to take it more slowly this time.
Something I'm getting kind of excited about:
One thing I've noticed while tutoring is how many building blocks you need to understand physics and calculus and chemistry. And how a lot of abstract concepts like x- and y- components and infinitely-small increments really have to be internalized and thought about. It's a different way of thinking! Like if you could project someone's brain onto a screen, you'd get the same image over and over again if you asked for "George Washington" or something like that...
Two types of studies that many people despise the most are Science and Mathematics. Some people cannot even stand to hear them mentioned. Truth is, whatever you are actually extremely good at, others may need some improvement. Although there are scientists and mathematicians out there who are able to analyze and engineer scary and complex looking graphs and three-dimensional shapes and models, they do have some weaknesses. One of my weaknesses in academia is reading (especially when it is uninteresting to me). I have struggled with reading for quite some time and there are times where I actually have to force myself to read, not because I can't do it, because I can. This is the same for many others, it's not that you do not like math/science, its just you were taught to memorize it and not understand it. Back when you did adding and subtracting, math was pretty fun right? Well I am sure you will find science and more complex mathematics...
To start my first blog post I wanted to say a little something about how much I love tutoring and the weather forecast for Southern California since my main passion is meteorology. Tutoring is something I started in the latter half of college once I started to take upper level math courses. I loved tutoring and wished I had a team of tutors to help me when I was struggling in some of my courses at the time. Sometimes teachers can only do so much or you cannot feel like you can approach them or ask them for questions. Tutors on the other hand are always eager to help students in their studies. It's more than just helping the student, you are creating a brighter future with every student you tutor. Additionally, each time you tutor you feel even better and learn each time you do it. It's both a learning and rewarding experience.
Also, for those that live in Southern California (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and even Big Bear)...
2014 Cell Day
Frontiers for Young Minds
Art and the Cosmic Connection
NASA Global Climate Change Modules
Here are some of my favorite resources that cover multiple subject areas in a single resource. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores.
(All grades) www.wyzant.com/resources/answers - homework help from real tutors and teachers
(All grades) http://www.wyzant.com/resources/lessons - lessons and tutorials from real tutors and teachers
(Varies) FactMonster.com – Formulas, practice, and basic information for chapter reviews or previews.
(PreK-8, 12) SheppardSoftware.com – Math, Language Arts, Science, Health and History games, + SAT vocab flash cards
(K-8) Softschools.com – Flashcards, practice lessons, and general guidance in all core subjects
(K-6) Eduplace.com – Online textbook-based lessons and practice for elementary school students- a GREAT resource if you’ve left your textbook at school or if you need more worksheets to...
Here are some of my favorite Science resources. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores.
(Gr. 9-12) CellsAlive.com – Learn about the life cycle of a cell, including reproduction, structure and live cell growth videos.
(Gr. 9-12) Zooniverse.com – A fabulous resource for science projects; you can even participate in someone else’s live science project (some are even from NASA). Focuses on astronomy, biology, and chemistry.
(Biology) KhanAcademy.org/science/biology – Tutorials and information on all things Biology related
(Biology) SpellingCity.com/biology.html – Provides a list of vocabulary terms typically seen in Biology courses
(Biology) Biology-online.org - Provides quick explanations of concepts, with examples
(Bio/Anat/Physics) BiologyCorner.com – Lessons, tutorials, definitions, and practice problems.
A few years ago, I began to teach a noncredit science class at a local community college. One of the lessons was how to solve word problems. This is what the material gave us to teach the students.
1.Read questions carefully
2.Define terms, think about relationships
3.Identify key or clue words
4.Identify the problem to be answered
5.Analyze the problem
6.Plan a solution
7.Answer the question
8.Evaluate the solution
Over time I began to realize that this was too much info to give, so I began looking for better ways to explain the process. I finally stumbled on an acronym that was simple and yet explain the steps in a concise way.
The acronym was WORD which stood for:
W- What does the question give you and does it want for answer (covers points 1, 3, 4)
O- Organize the information. Most science questions have a distinct order to them that can either be organized or diagrammed to assist in ‘seeing the problem’...
Everyone wants our children to have excellent educations, yet our schools too often fall well short of this goal. Why is this? Bad teachers, bad parents, bad kids, lack of funding for programs, there seems to be no shortage of reasons. A closer look at our schools however, will show that almost without exception there is at least one activity at each school where the students truly excel. One school may excel at volleyball and another at football. It may be choir or the art program, but these pockets of excellence exist where these bad kids of bad parents, led by bad teachers are consistently outperforming their peers year after year.
Ironically, at many schools these programs are often viewed as detrimental, distracting the students from the core curriculum. Nothing could be further from the truth; these are the programs we need to emulate. You do not become a sectional or state champion caliber athlete or artist by accident, it takes a great deal of focus, discipline...
In my work as a teacher, I cannot help but notice that many of the reading selections written for our students include words that are beyond our students' experience. Students simply do not have & could not usually acquire the background knowledge necessary for understanding some words they encounter in subject-specific reading selections, such as social studies & science. Reading instruction in language arts classes cannot adequately address all the words students need to know, as language arts teachers have other specific concerns to address every day. This is why every teacher must be a reading teacher & consider reading an integral part of their subject. Certain subjects are the best place for students to encounter, learn, and understand some of the vocabulary they need to know, while context clues are only useful if students already have the needed background knowledge. In other words, a context clue is not really a clue at all if students do not have the background...
If you ever find yourself in need of remembering the periodic table, making up a song with a simple tune really helps! I know a great one I made up in 8th grade that I still remember today.
My first grade student blew me away today. He not only read the word, 'interesting,' all by himself -- but he also knew exactly how many syllables it has! After a full year tutoring, we have a great connection and each weekly session has its surprises. I find I learn from my students, just as they learn from me. Age does not seem to matter, each individual has his or her own personality and interests.
We read a book about bats today. With terms like hibernation and echolocation, it was inevitable that we discussed a few definitions during the reading. First graders can be quite inquisitive, and we were pressed for time. So, I continued reading and before we finished, I learned something I did not know. Of course, I knew the early American settlers once lived in 'colonies.' Somehow, though, it never occurred to me that large groups of bats also live in
colonies! I also never thought about how the closeup photos in...