Mathematics is notorious for being challenging and unappealing, but it doesn’t have to be. This perception of students may stem from having a disinterest in the lesson when they were younger, which is why it’s important for math to be an enjoyable experience in primary school. Math is helpful in developing an analytical and critical mind, and sharpens the brain, which is valuable for children as they get older.
With a few creative presentations, math’s complex nature can be very interesting. Take PlayAblo’s fun probability lessons for example, which included engaging interpretations to make it seem less threatening and more relatable for kids.
With this approach in mind, here are some other ways to get children hyped about mathematics.
1. Make math a visual activity
There’s nothing like fun and colorful pages to get children excited! Tootsa discussed combining art and math, which is one of the most effective methods to get your kids hooked on the subject, sometimes without them even realizing it. From picture books to drawing shapes, math is present in their lives than kids tend to think. You can also introduce them to counting devices, such as the abacus, which can pique their curiosity and show them a different way to learn basic math principles. Focusing on this style versus teaching abstract concepts can help them appreciate that math is also beautiful in its own way.
2. Play number games
Raises Smart Kid highlighted a study which showed that students who play math games perform better in math classes. Since games naturally command the participant’s attention, math-themed learning activities will help them associate the subject with the word “fun”. With gadgets so readily available nowadays, it’s easy to download apps or search for websites that offer free interactive and informative exercises. Playing a popular family game like Uno or Sudoku can also help cultivate analytical thinking.
3. Apply it to real life
When it gets too theoretical for children, their minds start to drift away. This was an eye-opening lesson that professor Nigel Nisbet experienced firsthand. When Nisbet noticed that his students were failing math class, he switched up his teaching strategy and tried to present a simple money problem concerning chocolate bars. The students responded to this type of lesson versus usual textbook learning techniques. It made them feel in touch with math and how applicable it is to real world problems. Similarly, you can show the importance of math and apply the same rules for when they buy things in the grocery store, and ask them questions like which products provide better value for money. Asking them in things like this will get their brains working and excited that they’re applying something they’ve learned into tangible things they can use outside a classroom.
4. Build their confidence
Kids are curious by nature, and when it comes to tough lessons involving math, they will usually ask a lot of questions. Entertain these queries and answer them positively and encouragingly. Valuing their participation during a class or review can encourage them to probe more about the lessons next time. Little things like this can make a world of a difference with children and help improve their confidence as they start to be more investigative with learning.
5. Set an example
When students express frustrations about math, some parents are quick to answer that they also felt the same way when they were in school. This may actually be counterproductive to the kind of atmosphere you want to breed when it comes to teaching math. Kids look to adults for all kinds of cues. So it’s important for teachers to always be enthusiastic when delivering lesson plans and use positive reinforcement to help students progress and improve upon their math skills to keep them engaged in class.