3 Steps to Quieting the Noise (in our heads) called Math Anxiety

Students and adults who experience “Math Anxiety” hear a lot of noise and may have physiological changes that cause them to under-perform in work, school, and daily tasks involving math.

This anxiety may be from the frustration and thoughts about moving forward confidently and competently.

 

It’s time to leave those thoughts in the past and move forward. Here are a few ways to jump start that process.

  1. Take the pulse of your ATTITUDE
  • Do you feel that taking employment placement or school related tests and performing math calculations are a chore?
  • What was/is the energy level that your math teacher project in class?
  • Do you easily see the connections between math and tasks that you perform?

These are all factors that contribute to the noise called math anxiety.

  1. Listen Closely to Your Body!
  • Pay attention to how your body responds to stressful situations. (sweat, heart racing, nausea).
  • Breathe slowly.
  1. Take Control by Taking Action!
  • Access the resources that you have available to you (textbook, videos, teachers, family, friends). Make sure that you know how to use each well and often.
  • Think about who can assist you quickly. Ask them for specific help (note taking, studying together, more test strategies, etc.).
  • Believe in yourself and your abilities. Give it your very best.
  • Decide that you can comprehend and succeed with math!

You will be amazed by your comfort level and the additional opportunities available.

Share your tips on quieting the Noise about Math.

Do you have a specific question about this topic?

Consider this Math Anxiety Article full of research based reasons and for Stopping the Noise (in our heads)  About Math.


POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways.

Connect. Register. Volunteer. Invest for Kids to Win with Math!   Web:  www.powertheyouth.org/

Join POWEROrgMath on Twitter, G+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

We Encourage Girls to Pursue Health Science Careers

Originally posted October 2012

Our first Saturday Math Challenge sessions helped girls bond, think critically, and explore health science careers.

  • Have you ever dissected an animal?
  • Do you know which animal body parts are most like humans?
  • Why does any of this matter?
  • What’s the math in all of this?

Math is everywhere. Until we expose children to new opportunities, they will never know how far they can possibly soar.


POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways.

Connect. Register. Volunteer. Invest for Kids to Win with Math!

Web:  www.powertheyouth.org/

Join POWEROrgMath on Twitter, G+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

POWER Org Math Launched a Global Math Initiative in South Africa

Originally published April 2014

On March 29, 2014, we launched our “Global Math Initiative (GMI): To enhance academic and cultural experiences with STEM” in South Africa.

Our Founder and Executive Director, LaToniya A. Jones, has been in the Limpopo Province collaborating with Mr. Munienge Mbolia and the Science Foundations department at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) to prepare for the POWER Org Math – South Africa GMI launch, Math Clubs and special Math Affairs since Sunday, March 23, 2014.

POWER Org Math Global Math Initiative - South Africa Launch Activity with Founder LaToniya  (March 2014)
POWER Org Math Global Math Initiative – South Africa Launch Activity with Founder LaToniya (March 2014)

100 learners in grades 10-11 worked collaboratively to build bridges, rotate to small group sessions for introductions to binary coding, html language, tossing balls to simplify radical expressions and factorization (factorisation), graphing and geometry bingo, French, and more during the What’s the Math in This? mini-conference. Sessions were led by Senior Math Ambassadors and UNIVEN lecturers.

The initial 6 months of the GMI for POWER Org Math – South Africa will be hosted in the Milton Mpfumedzeni Secondary School for learners (students) in grades 10-12. The school is located in the Limpopo Province (Lukalo Village, near Thohoyandou). We have already received notice about others who are interested in this experience for their learners.

Honors and first year (foundation level) students at UNIVEN will serve as Senior Math Ambassadors. Junior Math Ambassadors will consist of a select group of high achieving learners from grades 10-12 at the Milton Mpfumedzeni Secondary School . Ambassadors will provide a structured comprehensive set of activities that help to remove math anxiety, build confidence, competence, and help learners work independently to achieve their individual academic goals based on the school’s math curriculum.

Building bridges to make meaningful academic and cultural connections with STEM!
POWER Org Math – Global Math Initiative in South Africa:  Building bridges to make meaningful academic and cultural connections with STEM!

Mpfumedzeni’s POWER Org Math Club will be coordinated onsite by Mr. Lawrence Okwuasi, a secondary math and science educator. They will frequently use technology to exchange their academic experiences, challenges, and culture with our current 10th grade math club in Detroit, Michigan.

Mr. Muvhango, the principal of Milton Mpfumedzeni Secondary School, shared how excited he was to witness and experience some of the most challenged learners having fun while doing math differently. He believes that this new way of learning is beneficial to both the learners and the educators at his school and publicly committed to integrating some of the practices into their school day on Monday, March 31, 2014.  The learners are ready to hold him to it.

We look forward to growing these relationships through our Global Math Initiative and making meaningful academic and cultural connections between USA students and South African learners.

We are building bridges because learning has no boundaries.


POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways.

Connect. Register. Volunteer. Invest for Kids to Win with Math!

Web:  www.powertheyouth.org/

Join POWEROrgMath on Twitter, G+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

Tammica Dotson – Why I Serve with POWER Org Math (Guest Post)

 

I have watched POWER Org transform from a thought in LaToniya Jones’ mind in 1997 to action packed programs and events that benefit the community.

I grew up in the inner city of Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools.  Math was not my strong subject.

POWEROrgMath - 2014 Back to School Skate (Toni, Tammi, Robyn)
POWEROrgMath – 2014 Back to School Skate (Toni, Tammi, Robyn)

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the support I needed as early as elementary school. My teachers made me feel like I couldn’t ask a question or was “slow” for not catching on as quickly as the other students.

Instead of one of my elementary school teachers taking a little extra time with me, she pushed me off on other students in the classroom who made comments like, “you don’t know how to do that?”  When I got home, my brother made the same comments and math became my kryptonite.

The foundation that should have been laid early on wasn’t in place and in my remaining school years, math always haunted me.

Although I wanted to explore other careers, I always  asked myself about (or researched) the amount of math that was involved in the career.

I enjoy the concepts and extra time that POWER Org Math gives to youth and families.

It’s work is making a positive impact in the community.

It brings me to joy to serve the youth and families who received the extra boost that I wish I had received at an earlier age.  I could have benefited from an organization like POWER Org Math when I was in school.

Join me in supporting POWER Org Math by volunteering, making a donation, and spreading the word about their existence and passion for helping youth with math.

I hope to see you soon!

Tammica Dotson


POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways.

Connect. Register. Volunteer. Invest for Kids to Win with Math!

Web:  www.powertheyouth.org/

Join POWEROrgMath on Twitter, G+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

WTMIT Expo: Math and Nutrition Reflections by Author, Yvelette Stines

It was a wonderful fall day at the Boys and Girls Club in Royal Oak. POWER Org Math was hosting their annual Math Expo. This particular weekend it was for the Girls. Starting with an empowering introduction to start off the Expo, 50-80 girls participated in a number of math activities throughout the day. There were also activities about life, career, as well as health and wellness. I had the honor of sharing some smoothies with the participants.

POWER Org Math Expo for Girls - Math + Nutrition (Oct 2013)
POWER Org Math – 2013 Expo for Girls – Math + Nutrition with Author Yvelette Stines

Upon entering my station many of the girls gave the green smoothie a wonderful and adorable questionable stare. With mixed emotions of excitement, curiosity, and hesitation the girls gave the smoothies a chance and ended up loving the samples and returning for more. The station was interactive. The girls had an opportunity to make the smoothie for others to try. My station explained the importance of healthy eating and developing healthy lifestyle habits. We also talked about recipes, the benefits of incorporating fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as my book Vernon the Vegetable Man.

The girls really loved the smoothies and a few asked if I could make them some to take home. The POWER Org Math Expo was a wonderful event. This organization is impacting children, families, and the community in a positive way.

Here’s a treat for you to do a little math while taking care of your nutrition.  Adjust the ingredients (by amount and item) to fit your needs. So mathematical!

Brain Power Smoothie
2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

2 bananas

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

Yvelette Stines, Author of Vernon the Vegetable Man

________________________________________________________

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways.

Connect. Register. Volunteer. Invest for Kids to Win with Math!   Web:  www.powertheyouth.org/

Join POWEROrgMath on Twitter, G+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

STEMPro Highlight: David Lieb – Founder of Bump Technologies


Our founder, LaToniya Jones,  had an opportunity to interview David Lieb about Bump Technologies and his love of STEM in 2012. We recently learned that Bump was acquired by Google in 2013 and David is on the Product team at Google as well.


STEMPro Highlight: David Lieb Former Bump Technologies Founder/CEO
STEMPro Highlight: David Lieb Former Bump Technologies Founder/CEO

LaToniya Jones: What inspired the bump technology?

David Lieb:  It was really inspired by my own personal frustration with the alternatives.  I went to business school at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2008, and within the first week, I found myself meeting dozens of new classmates and manually typing phone number after phone number into my phone.

One day I just got sick of doing that, and the idea for Bump hit me while daydreaming in Accounting class.

LaToniya Jones: Do you plan to expand into the droid, other mobile markets?

David Lieb:  Bump is already available for all iOS and Android devices.  We believe these two platforms will dominate mobile in the next several years so we want to be laser focused on them.  If other mobile platforms gain significant market share, we’ll expand to them as well.

LaToniya Jones: You have a very impressive background in technology, engineering, and mathematics  We read that the bump app was created using an algorithm.  Students use algorithms in schools daily and aren’t even aware of that term.

How would you describe a basic algorithm and challenges with algorithms to an elementary school student?

David Lieb:  An algorithm is really just a fancy word for “a way to solve a problem”.  It’s like a blueprint or instructions for solving a problem.

For example, you use an algorithm for tying your shoes every day — you just don’t think of it that way.  First you pull the laces tight, then you cross one lace over the other and make the first tie.  Then you make a loop with one lace and wrap the other one around, creating the bow.

We do the same thing in the software industry.  We just program these algorithms into computers to automatically execute.  And our algorithms contain really complex math instead of crossing show laces.  But it’s really the same idea.

LaToniya Jones:  What is the best way to help middle and high school students develop a better understanding of algorithms and encourage them to create their own algorithms?

David Lieb: The best thing to do is to start programming computers.  Just like playing a sport or a musical instrument, the only way to really get good at something is to actually do it.

Take a programming class.

Start messing around on http://www.codecademy.com/.

Get good at math.  It’s actually a lot of fun, and one day you can make your own video games instead of just playing others’.

LaToniya Jones: Tell us a little about your childhood and the influence your family had in preparing your for this time in your life. 

Were there any specific activities, clubs, or classes that cultivated your interest in STEM?

David Lieb:  I’ve liked math and science for as long as I can remember.  Both my mom and sister were math teachers, so I guess I was around that a lot growing up.

But, the first class that made me realize that I wanted to work with computers when I grew up was a programming class I took in middle school.  The final project was to create your own video game — whatever you wanted — and have the class actually play it.  It was so awesome to see my friends playing the Star Trek game I created.  (Oh, and I was also a Trekkie, so I think that helped encourage my love of science and technology).

LaToniya Jones:  Some people in our society are very uncomfortable with math and some have a full fledged fear of math. Yet, they use math every day in very creative ways. Unfortunately, some people (especially parents and educators) pass their dismay for math on through their conversation and avoidance of math and it’s applications in our daily lives.

What’s your advice on changing societies’ perception about how relevant/applicable math is to our lives?

David Lieb:  Math is a language, just like Spanish or French.  The only difference is that it’s used in every country around the world.  If you were going to live in France, you’d probably feel pretty stupid not knowing any French.  So ignoring math is like choosing to not understand what people around you are saying to you.

The great thing is that it isn’t that tricky, like Spanish or French. Everything in math comes from simple logic, just like the logic you use when you are arguing with your parents (this is why parents tend to win arguments — they are better at logic!).

Final Thoughts?

David Lieb:  Theoretically, there’s no limit on what we can do with Bump, though we haven’t built all of our ideas yet.  We think Bump helps make technology a little more human, a little easier to understand and use.  That’s our real goal as a company — to make people’s lives a little better.

As technology progresses and gets easier to use, there is definitely a danger that it gets used incorrectly or people abuse its power.  I think the best answer is to educate and empower parents and youth so they understand what exactly is happening when they use technology — “How is this thing I’m using really working?  What should I be aware of when I do this?”.  Another reason to learn math and logic! ;)



About POWER Organization

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 organization whose mission is to embrace, engage, and empower at-risk youth ages 4-18 and families in metropolitan communities to increase their confidence, competence, and proficiency with math. It hosts conferences, math clubs, and family math affairs to help cultivate a more mathematically literate community. Customized programs for youth, parents and families through Title I funding, PTO/PTA, community outreach, and faith based groups are available.

Subscribe to Seeing Saying Doing Math with POWER Org Math for more STEMPro Highlights. Do you know a STEMPro who should be featured for our families? If so, contact us via email:  info@powertheyouth.org.

Originally posted 2012.

BOOF and U of D Mercy grads - 2013 WTMIT Expo

Banking on Our Future Helps Improve Youth Money Management Skills at WTMIT Expo (Partner Highlight)

 Partners are powerful!

BOOF and U of D Mercy students - 2013 WTMIT Expo for Girls
BOOF and U of D Mercy students – 2013 WTMIT Expo for Girls

 During our 2013 What’s the Math in This? Expo, the BOOF station  was staffed by Michele Hurst Burton, Operation HOPE Detroit Program Manager, and Lance Palamara and Tim Roberson, MBA students from the University of Detroit Mercy.

BOOF and U of D Mercy students - 2013 WTMIT Expo for Boys
BOOF and U of D Mercy students – 2013 WTMIT Expo for Boys

They led students through games and activities designed to develop critical money management skills.  Participants were awarded prizes for creating balanced household budgets, balancing their bank accounts and correctly identifying key financial terms.


About BOOF

Operation HOPE’s Banking on Our Future program (BOOF) elevates the dignity, hope, and economic self-sufficiency of people in low-wealth and underserved communities through financial literacy. Since its inception, the Banking on Our Future Program has reached over 754,000 students in more than 700 schools and community-based organizations in the U.S. and South Africa. In Michigan, the Operation HOPE Detroit office has trained over 1,300 volunteers who have taught the Banking on Our Future Program to over 39,000 students in more than 50 schools and community-based organizations.

Partnering for youth since 2009.

About POWER Organization

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 organization whose mission is to embrace, engage, and empower at-risk youth ages 4-18 and families in metropolitan communities to increase their confidence, competence, and proficiency with math. It hosts conferences, math clubs, and family math affairs to help cultivate a more mathematically literate community. Customized programs for youth, parents and families through Title I funding, PTO/PTA, community outreach, and faith based groups are available.

Originally featured May 2014.

Do you know an organization, business, or individual that we should partner with to help at-risk youth in Metro Detroit via volunteering or donations?  If so, send us an email (info@powertheyouth.org) so that we can contact them. Thanks in advance for the recommendation.

POWER Org Math’s – 8th annual What’s the Math in This? Expo for Youth is October 4

 

wtmitcover web

Fifth grade is usually the time when students either develop an affinity for math related topics and careers or they start to do just enough to get by in school.

POWER addresses some of the root causes of this trend and help youth to make meaningful math connections through its What’s the Math in This? Expos. The 8th annual event will be hosted on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties – Royal Oak Unit, located at 1545  Lincoln Ave., Royal Oak, Michigan 48067.

STE”M” focused activity stations, demos, videos, and Math Game Shows will challenge southeast Michigan youth ages 8-13 to think critically and apply math in fun ways.  Professionals, high school and college students will provide on the spot mentoring and opportunities to explore a variety of careers and introduce higher level math course activities. Parent and guardian sessions include a panel of STEM experts, workshops, and an invitation to learn with their youth.

LaToniya A. Jones, a former math teacher, specialist, and school administrator founded POWER Org Math to provide high quality, math-focused learning experiences for youth and families in their nearby communities that provide both early exposure and skills development.

“Youth leave our Expos more confident and considering math clubs, competitions, and careers that require higher math skills. Parents and guardians witness a different way of learning and say they appreciate the resources to expand their way of thinking about math as well”, says Ms. Jones. “We are excited to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties for the second year to ensure that more of its members participate and non-members have a great place to continue developing their full potential”.

Registration opens September 6th on the website.  Tickets are only $15  for each participant.

Contact POWER Org Math today to learn more about sponsorships, volunteer opportunities (adults and youth in grades 9 or higher), and registration at info@powertheyouth.org or 313.415.8575.


About POWER Organization

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 organization whose mission is to embrace, engage, and empower at-risk youth ages 4-18 and families in metropolitan communities to increase their confidence, competence, and proficiency with math. It hosts conferences, math clubs, and family math affairs to help cultivate a more mathematically literate community. Customized programs for youth, parents and families through Title I funding, PTO/PTA, community outreach, and faith based groups are available.

Unhealthy Doses of Math Anxiety Need Immediate Attitude Adjustments

The fear of math can be debilitating!

It doesn’t need to be. 

Courtesy of GraphicStoock
Courtesy of GraphicStoock

It’s our job to help remove unhealthy doses of math anxiety to break this cycle early in a child’s academic history. If we ignore it, the anxiety and avoidance of math continues well into adulthood.

After reading a study on “Math Anxiety in Elementary and Secondary (6th-12th grade) Students” published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 1988, it’s obvious that there are two (2) main areas of anxiety that both educators and parents should pay attention to — even 24 years later:

Emotionality appears as nervousness, tense feelings, and physiological changes like sweating, stomach aches and more when taking a math test. Adults may experience similar experiences when they receive larger than normal heat bills that weren’t budgeted; learned about the busted pipe in the basement; or are pulled over by a police officer for any reason.

These feelings occur “in the moment” and relaxation techniques can be practiced to soothe the student.

Worry is evident in self-defeating talk about the “possibility” of performing poorly. As adults, we may have experienced this type of anxiety while awaiting notification about an employment decision or line of credit application.

These feelings happen long before the student gets to math class, starts a math assignment, or sits down to take a test. Students usually give up easily while completing tasks such as an assignment or test due to their “fear of failure”. They tend not to focus as much on the task at hand and instead over-think potential outcomes or solutions.

Worry has the biggest negative impact on math test performance. This can be changed with a simple attitude adjustment.

Attitude makes a world of difference.  Attitudes improve with positive self-esteem and preparation.

Create opportunities where children experience success and failure in small portions. Assign small tasks and observe how they respond.

Have a quick conversation about the lessons learned through failure and success.  Pay careful attention to responses and ask how they felt about the process and outcomes. Discuss lessons learned and how they may opposite outcomes in the future.

  • Speak positively about possibilities. Positive conversations can change moods and offer hope. Engage the child/youth in a chat about the pros and cons of their positive thoughts vs. negative thoughts. Remind them about dreaming big and the energy that positive thinking generates.
  • Encourage the child/youth to read the directions again, trace their steps for solving the problem, find the error, and correct the problem (if necessary). By tracing their steps (which will hopefully be listed in detail *smile*), they will be able adjust thoughts and actions; and determine if they were prepared enough (studied enough, had the right resources) to answer questions of this type.
  • Celebrate each success. Children/youth can easily detect sarcasm and too much empathy… so be genuine and specific.

What types of math anxiety have you or your child experienced? How did you deal with it? Did you share how you overcame the scenario with your child? 

REMEMBER: Sharing “good” and “not so good” math experiences with your child in a supportive way can help you pull down the mask on your past negative experiences in and permit you to move forward as well as help your child/student understand that the challenges they face in math is a part of life and can be overcome with a little preparation.

Join our I Love My Kids WITH Math Campaign for more conversations and tips with parents who are determined to help their kids succeed with math! Join the movement!

Feel free to contact POWER Org Math via email for personal assistance.

We would love to chat with you and offer a few additional suggestions.


LaToniya A. Jones, M.Ed. – POWER Org Math Founder, has more than 20 years in education, leadership, nonprofit and higher education teaching and administration.

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit organization. We help youth and families have fun while elevating their math skills.

Join us as we embrace, engage, and empower youth and families.

PEMDAS, BEMDAS in Excel, Order Matters

Courtesy of GraphicStock
Courtesy of GraphicStock

 

Consider This!  

12 / 4 + 8-10*(11-6)

       

                                 

PEMDAS

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” is an acronym (aka. Mneumonic tool) that has been around for a very long time.

  • This acronym helps learners remember the Order of Operations needed to solve multi-step problems: Parentheses ( ), Exponents ^, Multiplication * , Division /, Addition +, and Subtraction – .
  • The “order of operations” is introduced as early as third grade and used consistently throughout a learners’ academic career to perform the four basic operations of adding (+), subtracting (-), multiplying (*), and dividing (/).

This process (algorithm) carries on to finding averages, absolute values, and multi-step equations. Performing one operation out of sequence may cause an incorrect response (in some cases).

  • These rules are often considered “tricky”.

Complimentary partners

The tricky parts of solving order of operation problems lead to the most common mistakes. Knowing what to do when you have a division before a multiplication operation or a subtraction before an addition operation can eliminate this common mistake.

  • Multiplication and division are partners. Addition and subtraction are complimentary partners. Order do not matter for these buddies.
  • Multiplication (*) and Division (/) have the same weight and must be solved in the order they appear first (left to right).
  • Addition (+) and Subtraction (-) have the same weight and will always be the very last operations to be addressed in the order they appear (left to right).

Can Excel help?

Technology keeps the attention of most learners and can be a powerful tool with reinforcing skills that learners often confuse.

The location of data in cells in Excel help to organize the information and thoughts of students in a similar way as games they play for pleasure do. Staying within boundaries or frames is a natural way of playing games and navigating the many mazes and options available.

Excel programs are a staple on most basic computer systems and can help increase the purposeful use of technology without the barriers of online access or fancy equipment. It’s a good place to start.

BEMDAS

Brackets [ ], Exponents ^, Multiplication * , Division /, Addition +, and Subtraction -, relates to Order of Operations and the symbols used in Excel.

  • Excel formulas give a great introduction and a behind the scenes look at how our basic math formulas work, in an automated fashion.
  • Excel formula functions give users an opportunity to input the correct formula, randomize values that they would normally compute manually, and receive immediate feedback to validate their work.

Predictions/Simulations

The order of operations mneumonic tools like PEMDAS and BEMDAS can also assist with making predictions and using critical thinking skills when learners are not using an Excel spreadsheet.

Try this “Mathematical Operators in Formulas” tutorial.

The math concepts in this basic introduction looks very familiar and can have a transformational influence in the lives of its users.

Try it on paper, then in Excel and tell us how it worked for you.

How do you use Excel spreadsheets to make predictions, reinforce math skills, or to keep your business in order?


LaToniya A. Jones (Founder of POWER Org Math) is a seasoned educator with more than 20 years experience as a secondary math instructor and middle school principal, youth advocate, nonprofit leader, education consultant and college administrator. She enjoys helping families realize their earning and life potential by building solid academic careers via math. She is passionate about creating strong learning communities at home and school. 

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