Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Article Title

Conquering Math Anxiety

Faculty Sponsor

Hyun Jung Kang


Mathematics is often perceived as a vigorous and demanding subject, and many students treat it as such, developing high affective filters which inhibit the process of learning math. Much of the research on math anxiety suggests low test scores and feelings of disenchantment are direct consequences of math anxiety, and other literature goes further in asserting math anxiety puts students’ futures and academic experiences on the line. A review of the literature indicates a variety of math pedagogical methods which have been specifically designed to assuage the symptoms of math anxiety: subject integration, creative methods, visual/kinesthetic models and real life applications. The purpose of this study is to examine how fourth grade students’ attitudes towards math change as a result of incorporating a “real life applications” in math pedagogy. Emphasizing math’s applicability to reality, a curriculum style which encourages students to be actively engaged in lessons, is expected to yield positive perceptions of math because students are able to visualize how math makes a difference in their lives, alleviating math anxiety. This study will explore real life applications through carefully structured lesson plans implemented in the fourth grade elementary classroom. The way students view math (before and after the lessons) will be analyzed through observations, document analysis, and interviews with the mentor teacher.

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