“If x is a real number such that x + 1/x is an integer prove that x^n+ 1/x^n is also an integer n.”

Are you ready students?  Then, what is the answer?  For some who are gifted with Mathematical ability, this is just a piece of cake.  The problem is, not everybody is endowed with numerical capability.  Will they be interested or be different and resign themselves to self-created wall of defence; the thought of incapacity?  However, there is one thing which the students; gifted or not, cannot escape, that is to pass their Mathematics subject, and here Math becomes a nightmare, an unbearable burden to some who would like to end up with diploma.

The study among Third year students who failed in Mathematics in one grading period revealed three related causes. The student-related causes rank first among the three.  It refers to students poor study habits, lack of interest, lack of basic mathematics skills, poor basic English language and lack of practice.  These conditions afflicting students are no stranger, in all public secondary school in the country, with the exception of some extremely few.

School and teacher-related causes rank secondary in the study.  School buildings, chairs, library and other basic facility to achieve productive learning among students were hardly available.  Another factor that has the powering effect in learning situation is the Teacher.  The competence in the subject matter can make difficult subject like math, easy to the learners.

Home, peers, and community also counts as shown in the study.  Most of the students who failed came from a very poor or low-income family.  Children in this family are deprived of the basic necessities.  For what do we expect of these students if their stomachs are empty?  The kind of people and peers our students deal with outside school correlates also with their performance inside the classroom.

So, how can we make mathematics less fearsome and burdensome to students?  Here are some pointers in learning Mathematics according to the famous Mathematics professor in Ateneo and columnist Queena N. Lee – Chua:

1. Understand that there is no and easy road to success.  There is no special short cut to learn Math.  One has to take the road that everyone else takes – the slow but steady road which requires perseverance, patience and practice.

2. Make sure you understand the basic before going on to more advance topic.

3. Practice, practice, practice.  There is no better way to master a topic than to do loads of exercises.It’s not too late for others to change their views on this nasty eleven-letter word.  With Mathematics, surviving in the game of life would be trouble-free!

By: Ms. Noemi H. Gutierrez | MT II – Mathematics | Mariveles National High School – Cabcaben

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