Math Memoirs: "Some Girls Just Aren't Good at Math"

Math Memoirs: "Some Girls Just Aren't Good at Math"

November 7, 2015
happy math

There is actually a math formula that can predict what will make you happy.

happiness formula

This equation, according to the researchers, was able to successfully predict the factors leading to peoples’ happiness a significant percentage of the time. I have no idea what this equation means or how to even apply it but what this formula measures is what we expect and how strongly we expect it. According to Dr. Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and lead author of the study, sometimes happiness results when we keep our expectations low and when we exceed them we are pleasantly surprised, creating happiness.

Hmm, this seems to go against what we are told as teachers about setting high expectations. So how can we balance that out, particularly in math? How can we make math “happy”?

Here are three easy steps.

  1. Make big bold statements

  2. Social media has them all the time. Memes with a problem that states things like; “only for geniuses” or “90% fail this test”. Then the question itself isn’t that difficult maybe a little tricky but not difficult. This starts to build on that sense of “wow, I can do this, good for me”. These problems can be written on the board for a class starter or provided during a transition time. Encourage the students to give it a shot, see how they do.


  1. Disguise learning

  2. Use games to disguise the math learning that takes place. Games provides a nonthreatening way to learn math skills. Students play the games not realizing that they are learning math all they know is that they are having a good time. Reviewing the skills after the game is played and students will be surprised. “Wow I just learned how to do that and it was fun.”


  1. Pair students

  2. Two heads are better than one. That between the two of you your more apt to get it correct so students who don’t normally feel success have that sense of pleasantly surprised we got it. Pair students up to play math games as well as answer the class starter questions. This helps build confidence which will make students happy.


Making students happy with their math skills isn’t difficult, just takes a little bit of pre-planning to find good math questions or put together some math games.

Kim's class using MANGO

MANGO Math can help with both. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We post math questions that you can use in your classrooms or after school programs. Check out our website for information on what games we have in our math crates. These games are packaged so that everything you need is in a plastic envelop so students can grab and go play.

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