Educators can better prepare students for math careers through innovative thinking, rigor and sparking interest. Teachers have always made an impact in the classroom through various teaching strategies. Many occupations require some type of math background and many of them are interesting fields such as physics, engineering, architecture, video game design, and many others. If the educators can fuse this element into the classroom and expose students to the possibilities so that they have the tools to explore these types of occupations, then students will be better prepared for their respective jobs.
It is also true that rigor is a key element to success in math and a well structured and managed classroom will reap benefits in student achievement. Time must not be wasted and elements must transition quickly to avoid any wasted time. True mastery of the material will bring confidence to the student to take more challenging classes and potentially lead them to the path of becoming qualified in a variety of applied math and science fields. Students need the focus in the classroom without distractions so that there is an environment capable of learning.
Challenging assignments can be in the form of group project designed to make a bridge out of wooden sticks and test it for strength. All of the students are going to want to win and compete and of course there is some sort of prize to the winner. These types of contests spark interest and give them a foundation to build off of in future experiences. After school competitions are another way to get students engaged. Programs such as rubber band powered car races, or solar powered cars, and robotics are other options that can be implemented with the support of the staff and provided there is appropriate funding available.
Lastly, there needs to be a connection with the community and the schools. The school could sponsor a job fair for seniors that includes local colleges, as well as members of the industry the can direct students further into their related fields. Internship and co-op work experience programs could be a benefit to the students it terms of the amount of experience gained in a variety of fields. Guest speakers could visit the school and present a speech during assemblies and bring prototypes of the latest high tech gadgets that are in development. Students will undoubtedly enjoy the experiences and develop an interest for applied math occupations.