Right now, there is a big push in US education to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) appealing to more of our young people. During the economic bubble, many technically-able students were drawn to financial occupations, and we have suffered a "brain drain." In addition, we keep struggling with the same problem of math phobia or inadequate math teaching by teachers who were themselves taught from a surface, procedure-first approach.
In countries where math education is most successful, one emphasis is on problem solving and conceptual approaches. Students are encouraged to think things through themselves, and to struggle with problems, rather than being rescued immediately by teachers eager to help them at the first sign of difficulty.
Part of what can help rescue US math education, I believe, is making math fun, interesting, and applicable. While I teach conventional methods of mathematical problem solving, I also encourage the students to discuss, explore concepts, and solve problems in different ways.
This guide is an attempt to compile activities teachers can use to do the same in their classrooms. There is a range of activities, from basic, elementary skills, to more advanced, puzzle-like approaches. Math is fun, but the enjoyment often gets stifled in "drill and kill" activities, especially for the students who are ready for more challenges earlier. Pop out a few of these activities for those guys, and you will have a happy buzz of mathematical learning!
So the Learning Objective for this guide is:
Students will be able to apply a variety mathematical concepts through projects and problem solving.