Student Quote Library
Perhaps the best way to understand the depth and powerful impact of our project is to read what the students have to say about their experiences. The following student quotes, collected during the project, are typical responses received as part of student journals, essays and reflections.
Instead of falling asleep listening to lectures I was able to solve problems and make conjectures.
Math Explorations was undoubtedly the strangest and most enjoyable math class I have ever been enrolled in. I was engaged throughout the entire class and for once in my life not dreading math class when it came around.
Like I said before, I have hated math my entire life. I never had a love of math, not once in my life. I can sit here and say taking Mathematical Explorations, and the proofs we learned and the concrete material may never change my life. However, the way I was taught will affect me for the rest of my life.
…We were never told the cookie cutter way of finding an answer. We struggled, using trial and error and our own thoughts to find the answer to the problem. Yes, it was insanely frustrating. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to throw my notebook out the window, or at my teacher (sorry Professor, it’s the truth). However, when I finally figured out the answer to the problem, I have never felt smarter. Here I was in math class, a subject I feared my entire life, feeling invincible. That’s right, invincible. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was fighting for my education. That is how you feel when you’re really learning.
In mathematics in the United States today, the focus is more of throwing a ton of information of steps and procedures for solving certain math problems and, completely disengages students from exploring solutions to problems on their own through experimentation and observing data to independently create a solution… School boards have completely made math a subject of throwing information at students, using the information to solve a problem step by step, expecting students to memorize the given steps for every type of possible problem for multiple subjects, and then determine a student’s future of continuing education on their ability to memorize all the tedious steps they were told.
…Math is no longer a student-engagement subject. Students are not give the time or encouraged to experiment with a math problem and find patterns for solving it.
…It is very difficult for me to look at a non-basic math problem and be able to know exactly what I have to do to solve it because, I have no personal experience of figuring out how to handle the type of problem through my own understanding.
…[In this course] I was encouraged and guided to engage in making the discoveries and understandings for myself. The techniques for how I found my solutions were very clear to me because, I was the one who found a pattern and applied the pattern to generate the solution. I have gained my own personal experience with mathematics that has changed my view on the subject completely.
I came home one weekend and I was discussing with my mother (She's and elementary teacher.) about your rule of answering a math problem in a complete sentence. I thought that was ridiculous and tedious. My mother then went on to explain that that is how math is being taught today. I finally understood your expectations from that point on.
From Math Is Still and Unnecessary Evil: "As you can see by the title of my paper, my feelings towards math have not really changed since the beginning of the semester...Maybe I'll try being a little more open-minded when it comes to my next math class.
When this class first started I thought I was going to run into the same problem I've always had with college math courses. I have gone into my past two math courses with a good attitude each time. By the end of a month each of the classes I had practically given up in...I love this class, I can't say enough about it.
This course challenged me to think in ways that I don't usually think, and it helped open my eyes to the world of math. It actually seems interesting.
I will sort of miss this class -- most of the chapters of the book are interesting -- I'll keep the book for the fun of it.
Math intimidates so many people, including myself, because of the way it has been taught in previous years and not one of my math teachers before now has asserted that it's not that hard if you take your time and not to move on until you're sure you understand. In my mind, the mathematical dogma and attitude from teachers that didn't seem to care if I really understood killed it for me.