Should Math be presented to boys & girls differently?

Not really. I have always believed each individual had his or her own strengths, weaknesses and learning style, but it isn’t gender specific as far as I can see as a teacher.  I do think that whenever you can, the teacher should relate whatever math topic is being studied to a real-life situation to add context to what might look, to some, like an arbitrary step-following process.  So, I guess if that means you are talking to a single-sex classroom an example that asks how many different outfits can be made might be more effective with girls and an example of how many different baseball batting orders you can come up with for boys. But I think there are enough gender-neutral examples a teacher could use that wouldn’t be in danger of highlighting or perpetuating stereotypes.

That said; a book recently caught my eye in the bookstore, called Math Doesn’t Suck by former Wonder Years child actor and now mathematician, Danica McKellar . I found myself giggling out loud in the bookstore as I read and I actually learned (or remembered) a few things about a few math concepts that just sort of get rusty in adulthood.  The book is 100% geared toward girls, and I don’t know if there is an equivalent out there for boys, but if you have a girl who is math resistant, you should check it out.  It certainly couldn’t hurt.  I bought it for my daughter.

related articles:

The Myth of the Math Gender Gap – Time

Mind the Gap – Pysch. Today

No Gender Gap in Math – Scientific American

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