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National Board Certification Exam - Mathematics/Adolescence & Young Adulthood: Practice & Study Guide37 chapters | 342 lessons | 23 flashcard sets

Instructor:
*Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer*

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After reading this lesson, you will know why addressing math misconceptions in your classroom is so important. You'll also learn some methods you can use to identify and then re-teach the misconceptions.

Imagine that it is the beginning of a new school year and you are getting to know your 30 new math students. As you get to know your students, you find that only a few of them really understand math and are at an appropriate level for your class. The rest of the class, however, have **math misconceptions** that you have to address. These math misconceptions are misunderstandings when it comes to math. For example, instead of viewing the equal sign as a statement of equality, some students think of it as telling them they need to find an answer.

Math is one of those subjects where there can be a lot of misconceptions that you, as the math teacher, will come across and have to work with.

These math misconceptions are actually a big deal in the math classroom because they don't allow your students to progress. Your students are essentially held back from learning new information. This is because math is one of those subjects where each class builds on the information learned from the previous class. For example, if your students don't fully understand the concept of applying math concepts to real world problems, they won't do well in higher math classes as more and more concepts become centered around these type of problems. Many word problems apply math concepts to solve real world problems.

So, what can you do?

The first and most important task that you have is to identify which math misconceptions your students have. You can do this with the help of a back-to-school assessment. Now, students generally don't like tests, and to start with a test right away when they get to school may not be the best welcome. But, there are other ways you can give an assessment. It doesn't have to be a written test. You can give casual oral assessments just by talking with your students and from observing your students in group work settings.

For example, let's say you begin the school year with conversations on various math topics. When you talk to your students about the various properties of parallel lines with an intersecting line, you find that two of your students, Jenny and Dave, don't quite know how to apply these properties to help them solve real world problems. In further conversations with these students, you find that their math misconception stems from way back in elementary school when they never understood how geometric shapes related to the real world. They are unable to link a real world problem to this math concept. Now that you've identified the problem, let's see what the next step is.

Once you've identified the math misconceptions that your students have, then you'll need to find a way to incorporate the re-teaching of these misconceptions into your lessons. You might weave the re-teaching of some basic math into an introductory lesson on your topic.

As you teach your students new lessons, you still need to be on the watch for math misconceptions. They can crop up at any time. Once you notice and identify them, you may need to alter your upcoming lesson plans to incorporate some re-teaching activities.

For example, for your students Jenny and Dave, you can set aside some time while the rest of the class is working on practice problems to give them a mini-lesson and tips on how they can relate real world problems to math. You show them a real world problem, you draw out the problem, and then you link it with a math concept. Once you see that they are more comfortable with math application, you can give them some practice problems to help them practice what you just showed them. Once these students have re-learned their misconceptions, they'll be on the right track to success.

Let's review.

**Math misconceptions** are misunderstandings when it comes to math.

Math misconceptions are important to deal with in the math classroom because a math misconception can hold a student back from learning more math and excelling in your class. This is because math is one of those subjects that build on what a student has already learned. They need to have mastered, or at least understood, the material covered in previous math classes.

As a math teacher, it's important that you begin the year by identifying the math misconceptions that your students have. After you've identified any misconceptions, you'll need to edit your lesson plans and incorporate the re-teaching of these misconceptions into your lessons.

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