NTNU professor turns math into fun and games

Students begin to think, understand, and experience mathematical concepts through hands-on experience: Prof. Lin

Prof. Lin Fu-lai (National Academy for Educational Research photo)

Prof. Lin Fu-lai (National Academy for Educational Research photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lin Fu-lai (林福來), a professor at National Taiwan Normal University's Shi-Da Institute for Mathematics Education, was invited as the guest on the latest episode of the I-Fun Learning website's Celebrity Interviews unit.

I-Fun Learning is part of the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER), which provides resources for teachers and students. In this episode, Lin talked about how he has turned learning about mathematics into fun and games.

“In the class of the numerical miracle, we actually want students to learn linear equations with an unknown as well the ability to deduce,” Lin said. “As they really want to finish the magic trick, it’s not mathematics to them anymore. Because they want to learn how to use magic, they become less resistant to mathematics.”

In order to stimulate students’ interest in learning math, Lin’s team has developed the so-called “mathematics foundation-building module.” As students are highly engaged in playing games, they will not stop after they enter the classroom, so 90 minutes passes quickly, according to the professor.

The idea behind this method is that through hands-on experience, students will begin to think, understand, and experience a number of mathematical concepts, which in turn will become more concrete in students’ minds, the professor added.

“Thinking is most important in the process of learning, especially learning math,” Lin said. “When students are forming their foundation in math, we try to make them think and feel that learning mathematics is fun after all so that they can think on their own and solve problems in the future,” he said.

(National Academy for Educational Research photo)