High school math is notably more complex than the simple arithmetic performed by early grade students. Because of the abstract and highly technical nature of high school math, students at this level are commonly not treated to the interactive and engaging classroom bulletin boards that grace the classroom walls in elementary and middle schools, contributing to the sense that math is boring and unpleasant. While high school math bulletin boards will necessarily differ from a lower grade class's bulletin board, teachers at the high school level can still create entertaining and hands-on bulletin boards that intrigue their students.
Planning Classroom Bulletin Boards
When approaching the task of planning a high school math classroom's bulletin board, it's important to remember the basics: the most effective classroom bulletin boards find ways to connect with students by appealing to their interests and the way they interact with the world. Though high school math is more abstract and technical, this rule still applies -- you'll just need to think abstractly yourself. While middle school math bulletin board ideas will often revolve around showing students how to apply the skills they learn in their everyday lives today, high school boards will need to focus on the future lives of the students who will be reading them: with college and adult jobs on the horizon, linking classroom concepts to future endeavors will help students see the point of learning things they may otherwise consider useless.
Connecting to Math Jobs
Show students that the math that they are learning is relevant, and provide them with information about potential future careers by creating a math jobs bulletin board. To create this board, brainstorm a list of math-related jobs with your students. Pair students up, or ask them to work individually to research an assigned career from the list. Instruct each student to create a fact sheet about their assigned career, including information like how math is used in the job, a description of the job, required education and standard rate of pay. Ask all students to locate a picture that is representative of their assigned job.
Once students have completed their fact finding mission, place their information sheets and pictures on a class bulletin board. To make the board even more interactive, allow students to vote on which of the featured jobs they would most like to undertake, and place a start next to that job to label it as the most desirable math occupation.
SAT Problems of the Week
Prepare your pupils for the SAT, and engage them in some friendly competition, by posting a weekly SAT math problem on your classroom bulletin board. Cover your board with solid colored board paper or fabric. Select a problem from an online SAT preparation site or an SAT preparation book. Create an enlarged copy of the problem, and post it on Monday. Place a box next to the board, and instruct students to place their problem solution attempts inside. At the end of the week, open up the box and see which students correctly solved the problem. On the following Monday, post a new problem along with the names of the math wizes who were successful in their problem solving attempt.
Math in the News
A "Math in the News" bulletin board enables students to see that math really is all around them. At the beginning of the year, challenge students to be savvy media consumers, and be on the look out for newspaper or magazine articles that deal directly with, or even just mention, math related topics. Ask students to bring in any articles they find that deal with math. To encourage students to comply with the request, offer extra credit to students who contribute. Place these articles on your class bulletin board. Continue to add articles throughout the year, overlapping if necessary. By year's end, you will likely have a board brimming with math related articles, allowing students to see just how present math is in our world.
About the Author
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.
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