Improving students' mathematical enjoyment through math-related literature
Students often cite mathematics as their least liked school subject. It is difficult to engage students when they do not enjoy their mathematics class. The purpose of this study was to investigate to what degree the use of math-related literature in a Grade 5 mathematics class affected students? enjoyment in the mathematics classroom. Starting in September 2010, students took part in a 'regular' mathematics class, consisting of a starting activity, direct teaching, and individual assignments for six weeks. After this six week period, students participated in a literature enriched mathematics program for another six weeks. These mathematics lessons involved the teacher reading a math-related story to the students at the beginning of the lesson and using the theme from the book as a focus for the direct teaching and assignments. This quantitative study using a survey administered three times to 16 Grade 5 student participants was conducted to determine students? mathematical enjoyment at the beginning, the mid-point, and end of the 12 week study. The data showed that the use of literature in the Grade 5 mathematics class increased students? mathematical enjoyment levels. The survey data indicated that throughout the study students began to enjoy mathematics more than any other class and students increased their confidence in mathematics. The results from this study may encourage teachers to explore ways to include math-related literature into daily mathematics lessons to build students' enjoyment levels and engage them in their mathematical learning.