Math Games – Play One Today!
by Lori Wolfe, Monthly Columnist
As we implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Math, many teachers are wondering where games fit in. We know that children discover their world and learn through play. We also know that repetition is crucial to learning new skills especially second language learners. As said on Brains capes’ Blog, Repetitio mater studiorum est | Repetition is the mother of all learning. For children to gain skills and understanding in Math repetition is essential. Games encourage students to practice, repeat and review new skills. Games offer students a hands-on and developmentally appropriate way to explore math concepts. They also provide the intrinsic motivation second language learners need to increase and accrue more knowledge in English. Math games fit hand in hand with the CCSS and make the standards come alive for students.
The very nature of games and activities provide numerous methods for basic skills practice and review. Furthermore, using games during math time supplement teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, and on-going practice.
As teachers of young students we know that:
• Research shows that repeated practice solidifies basic facts in students
• Children learn through play
• Games are easily focused to a specific math skills and concepts.
Math games can be used in a variety of classroom situations, including:
These games and activities supplement teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, and on-going practice. As you know this is the type of instruction that makes exemplary math programs.
Multiple Methods for Basic Skills Practice
The very nature of the games and activities provide numerous methods for basic skills practice and review.
Emphasis on Communication
Math vocabulary knowledge is the foundation of math success in second language learners and native speakers alike. Math Games encourage students to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words in a safe and authentic environment. Math Games give students opportunities to verbalize their own thoughts and strategies. Game playing gives children the chance to clarify their thinking, use math vocabulary and gain insights from others in a real life situation.
Enhanced Home/School Partnerships
We also know that using math games during “Parent Nights” can provide opportunities for family members to participate in the mathematical learning of their children. Even parents who are too intimidated to come into the classroom show up to help out at math club. Math games put the fun back into learning, the way it should be!
Finally, math games are the perfect compliment to before or after school programs, school math nights and summer school programs. Math games are perfectly suited to be checked out as take home game sets.
So don’t hesitate!
Grab a math game and get playing today! Click here for a free Multiplying by 8 Math Game from Fun to Teach Math!
About the Author
Lori Wolfe has taught English Language Development, bilingual 1st & 2nd grades, and as a Title I Reading and Math specialist. She also presents professional development workshops, develops curriculum and blogs. Follow her blogs at Fun To Teach ESL and Fun To Teach Math Blog for more great teaching ideas, tips, freebies and more. You can also find Fun To Teach on Facebook.