Application is good when you can show it to the students, but what if you can't? How can I show application of complex numbers, specificly application of de Moivre's formula. I say you can calculate more easily with de Moivre's formula and then they ask me why should they even use complex numbers. I could show them application of complex numbers in electrical engineering or in computer graphics but that is too complicated for 12th grade students.

I think every math teacher is always asking himself/herself that question. My best approach is start of the year by presenting practical application to some basic mathematical concept. One of my students' favorite is to play restaurant, where they place an order from an actual menu. The server will have to find the total bill and the customer has to figure out the tip without a calculator. Small things we do through out the year can make the subject a little more interesting and motivate the students to work.

Another suggestion is to variate in your approach. In my classroom, sometimes I present the materials, other times I use power point presentations. On some days we even use Khan academy videos. Students view math as a dry, boring subject. Spicing things up a little in the class may help motive them.

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Interestingly enough, I was just talking to a student about this. She was complaining that she could not get motivated in math and science class, even though they were making a scooter. Sometimes the practical applications can confuse kids who don’t have a strong grasp of the subject. I suggest using demonstrations to get them interested, but then making sure they have a foundation before having them apply the concepts.

For more, read here: http://lisahwarren.hubpages.com/hub/Making-Physics-More-Interesting-for-Children-and-Teens

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-lists/physics-games-kids

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