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Framing math lectures yields positive result

A multitude of formulas and concepts wreaks havoc in the notes of AP Calculus students at Riverbank High School in California. But since the class began using the Framing Routine, organization has been restored and student understanding has increased. “When I take regular notes, I have information scattered all over my paper, and it’s extremely hard to look back at what I learned,” says senior Jennifer Eitelgeorge. “When I use a FRAME, though, it’s very organized and I can easily point out any information that I need.” Classmate Evan Gunther agrees, saying, “I particularly appreciate the visual connections because I am a visual learner. In fact, I rarely can understand a math lecture prior to seeing it framed.” Not only do FRAMEs help students organize their notes, but they also help students understand difficult material. Senior Kelly Erazo describes a lesson in which the whole class struggled to grasp the concept of limits in calculus. “Our teacher, Ms. Vera, patiently and meticulously explained limits using FRAMEs,” Erazo says. The result was five FRAMEs, each with a detailed explanation of limits in different contexts. “That experience helped me understand and retain the knowledge I obtained about limits, and it also helped my classmates.” Junior Jennifer Manriquez says FRAMEs allow her to work more quickly and efficiently with new material. “Math FRAMEs are a great way to make connections and recognize relationships between what you are currently learning and what you already know,” she says. Because some facts simply have to be memorized—such as the angles on the unit circle—Manriquez appreciates the value of a tool that aids in that task. “Memorizing and studying become less and less stressful because it allows you to see the information broken down to a simpler form,” she says.

—First published in 30 x 30: Thirty Stories of Success, Hope, and Innovation, © 2008, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.

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