Why Should We Use Case Studies in the Math Classroom?

Learning, Learning Design

By Julie Martin

Have you ever wondered why most students are frustrated by math problems? You can do your best to explain how they should implement the formulas to get to the needed solution, but you realize they are not really interested in listening to your attempts to explain how cool math is.

You may be the “math problem master,” but there is a particular real-life problem hidden here: your students are not interested in becoming better at math because they think they don’t need it.

Students are easily bored of theory and formulas. They realize that different areas of study depend upon the math you teach. They understand that statistics, psychology, physics, computers and astronomy wouldn’t be possible without math. The problem is they don’t see how these specific formulas you’re introducing in today’s lecture make our world a better place to live in.

Pedagogy is a true art. You have to experiment with different approaches and strategies until you discover the perfect method of teaching math to the particular group of students you’re dealing with. So here one method that usually works in the math classroom, regardless of the students’ ages: case studies.

Reasons to Use Case Studies in the Classroom

When you are looking for contextual examples that show how math principles find their implementation in real life, try presenting case studies in the classroom. If you’re still not convinced on this method, consider these points:

  • Case studies promote critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills within the classroom.
  • Reviewing a case study is a student-centered activity. It’s easier to relate to real-life situations presented as examples of why this information is pertinent to their future success. Regardless of the professions they intend to pursue, they will certainly need some math skills for professional progress, and case studies can help make that fact clear.
  • Case studies are great for stimulating discussions. When your students understand that math is an important aspect of the development and marketing processes of a famous company, they will have questions. For example, when they drink a soda during a break between classes, they might wonder which formulas were used to produce the perfectly shaped container that fits in their hands and contains the exact amount of liquid they desire.
  • A case study will make your students think. First, expose the general information about the study, and intrigue them to think about the challenges presented. If they need assistance in asking the right questions, you can simplify the problem for them. Then they will be inspired to communicate and analyze the issue and will come to their own conclusions.

How to Use Case Studies in the Classroom

So how can you find a specific case study that will intrigue students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills? Here are four steps:

  1. First, analyze the interests of your students. Do they like smartphone apps? Of course they do! Maybe you could use a case study that explains how important math formulas are in the development of these games.
  2. Once you realize what type of case study you need, it’s time to do a little research. If you can’t find anything interesting online in general, you can request custom case study help. Yes, there are professional case study assignment help services that pair you with a mathematician. He will follow your instructions and develop a custom case study that will be unique, impressive and suitable for your classroom. These services also offer free samples of case studies, so you should definitely explore their offer to see if you can find a study relevant to your needs.
  3. Once you find the perfect case study, it’s time for action. Group your students in teams, doing your best to make them as equal in math skills as possible. Expose the problem of the case study and ask them what they think, giving them time to gather their thoughts. You could also assign a group project for homework, so the teams have time to brainstorm and can share their solutions during the next class.
  4. Analyze the team answers and then present the results of the actual case study. Spark a discussion that enables your students to ask questions and express their opinions.

Case Studies Bring Math to Reality

Once you’ve introduces case studies to your students and used them in several lessons, you can take things even further. Assign a case study at the end of each unit so students can analyze the formulas and think how they can implement them in a real-life situation. Encourage them to seek out their own relevant case study examples to bring to class and share as well.

Case studies are the perfect addition to a cool teacher’s math curriculum. They take mathematical concepts beyond formulas, pages of text and geometrical images. Try introducing case studies into your classroom and watch student engagement increase!

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Julie Martin is a tech researcher from California University.


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