Math Teaching Tips

5 Way To Make Math Fun

In this video we give you five quick ideas to help put smiles on the faces in your math classes. Play video

1. Shopping Games - Students love to buy things. What a great way to learn math facts quickly and with purpose.

2. Create Math Projects That Relate Locally - Pulling a students' everyday life into the classroom makes a big difference.

3. Make Word Problems With Things That Hit Home - For example you could include the names of students in the class, current movies, current bands, and pop icons. Kids will take notice.

4. Get Them Moving - Use a tactile approach to learn math as much as possible. Also include activities that require students to gather their own data. Come up with fun physical challenges.

5. Use Technology - There are tons of math games online available. Include spreadsheets and their use in your projects as much as possible. Don't be afraid to create or use a great web quest.

Teaching Idea

Practice in Addition
Janine, Elementary Inclusion Teacher: Eugena, Oregon

"This idea can be used for developing skills in adding. One at time, read the following directions to students and ask that they calculate their responses on paper:

1) Choose a number between 10 and 100.
2) Add 95.
3) Cross off the numeral in the hundred's place.
4) Add the digit you crossed off.
5) Add 4.
6) The resulting number should be your original number that you started with. For example: 88+95=183; Remove the 1 from the hundred's place; you are left with 83+1=84; add 4=88! For real challenge, ask students why this happens."

Teaching Idea

Exploring Geometry
Paul, Junior High School Teacher: Rock Springs, Wyoming

"Ask your students to list five reasons to study geometry. Ask them to then list ten jobs that require knowledge of geometry. Once all responses are offered, ask students to create geometry problems that are encountered in every day life situations. Use this as a basis for introducing concepts related to geometry and ask students to continue to contribute ideas about the practical use of geometry...make sure you discuss those ideas that students come up with."

Teaching Idea

Looking for Shapes
Colleen, Primary Grade Teacher: Peoria, Illinois

"Provide children with a pad and pencil. Take a walk outside around the school, the play ground, or areas near by looking for objects in which circles, triangles, or squares are visible. Ask children to sketch the objects that they notice and that they are particularly interested in. When you return to the classroom, ask children to draw one of the objects they sketched, then paint it or color it. Ask them to outline the shape or shapes in the drawing and label whether it is a circle, triangle or square. Let the children discuss their findings either in pairs or in a small group. Display their work."

Teaching Idea

Relationships and Patterns
Jackie, 5th Grade Teacher: Madison, Wisconsin

"Write the beginning of a number pattern on the board. Example: 18, 15, 12, ___, ___, ___, Call on students to name each succeeding number. Remind students that if they look at the first two numerals, they can determine what happened between them. You can guide them by asking them if the second number is larger or smaller? How much larger or smaller? Which math operation was used to make it larger or smaller? Then ask them to write the resulting answer between each pair of two numbers. Once they discover the pattern, ask them to create their own patterns and share them with a partner."

Teaching Idea

Multiplication Mania
Lindsay Fuiles, Grade 4 Teacher

This activity can be adapted to just about any subject area. I have all the students move their seats so that they are all facing directly to the front. I then have a student walk around the room and stand next to one of the other student's chairs. Both students stand up and are asked a multiplication problem. Who ever gets the problem correct first moves on to the next chair and gets a point. The other student sits down. We keep a tally of the number of wins of each student. The kids really like this activity.

Teaching Idea

Holiday Graphing
Mike Ray, Math Teacher

"The holidays are the best time to get kids to relate the skill of graphing to their lives. I always come up with scenarios and as a class we decide which graph type would be best to describe to their data. Here are some of the scenarios I use:

  1. What are our favorite holiday treats?
  2. What holiday do we celebrate in December?
  3. What is our favorite holiday song?
  4. Where will we spend our holiday?"

Teaching Idea

Money for the Movies
Marus Ballen: Elementary Teacher

"A great way to review and even introduce students to currency is to simulate a day at the movie theater in the classroom. Every student earns ´┐ŻBallen Bucks´┐Ż through the week and on Friday we watch a movie. The students must pay for their tickets, candy, pop corn; I also come around with little toys they can purchase. I even give them back improper change to see if they catch me. If they are disruptive during the movie, I charge them tax on all the items they purchase. It makes for great fun and great learning."

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