Making Math Fun: What Educators Can Do
For some students, math is the least enjoyable subject on the daily agenda. If a student isn’t a total guru at it, it can be complicated, boring, and downright frustrating. In addition, it can be just as troublesome for you, the teacher, because you might be grappling with how to make this subject an engaging learning experience for your class. Try these 3 tips for getting the most out of your math class:
#1 Find Relevance and Tell a Story
A leading reason students struggle with math is because they sometimes don’t know why this specific skill is useful. The “Why do I need to know this?” excuse is probably jumping to the front of your mind right now, and that’s exactly why you should try to introduce context of a math solution. Tell a story about your own experience with a genre of math and of a time when you used it effectively. A simple example might be when you were at the grocery store and wanted to buy several of the same item (think: “One apple costs 75 cents, and John wants to buy five of them. How much will five 75-cent apples be?).
#2 Use the Element of Surprise
Take advantage of your own knowledge and use it to show students what makes math unique and interesting. Show them a problem that has a reputation for inspiring awe or intrigue and ask them how to solve it. Or use problems and examples similar to the Birthday Problem to leave learners stunned and wanting to know more.
#3 Use Art
Let’s face it: some of us are more “hands-on” when it comes to learning a new concept. Make sure your students fully understand through unique and fun activities. Use interconnecting building blocks to explain fractions, or have students cut out an animal shape from paper using a protractor to discover how angles work. Try these outstanding math activities from WeAreTeachers.com.
It can sometimes be tricky to get students motivated and excited about math. The stigma surrounding the subject can sometimes lead to boredom, mind-wandering, and frustration if it doesn’t come as naturally to the student as other activities or subjects. But math doesn’t have to be this way. With a little creativity and determination, you can help steer your class toward mathematical success.