Incorporating math into your classroom routine can be easy to do when you have a plan. Whether it is an activity that carries through for the entire school year or one that is part of a two-week lesson, students can benefit from practical and fun math applications. The ideas below are perfect for making math come alive for students of all ages.
Ways to Make Math Fun
This idea comes from Elizabeth, a 2nd Grade Teacher, from Cordova, TN. “To take attendance and incorporate a Mathematics lesson at the same time, I use a “Graph a Day” question. I have a magnetic graphing chart and place a different question at the top slot everyday. (Sometimes yes/no questions, your favorite of these questions, and others.) The students arrive and take a card with their name on it, read the question, and graph their name card in the appropriate slot. For attendance I look and see who has not ‘graphed’.
When we begin our Mathematics block each day, I always start with our graph. By doing this the students hear daily, ‘which has more’, ‘which has less’, and other graphing language. By doing this, when we come to the graphing section of our textbook (not until February), my students are whizzes!”
Here’s a fun tip for teaching K-3 the concept of odd and even. It was sent in by Sharon, a Kindergarten Teacher, in Candor, NC. “Although I teach Kindergarten, it is never too early to teach even and odd numbers. And this method works for ALL grades! To teach this concept I use the partners idea.
Take any number – say 3 – and use both hands and put up a finger (offset them) until you reach the number. With three there should be 2 fingers up on your right hand and 1 on your left. Now, put the fingers together by touching the tips. Ask if each finger has a partner? In this case no, one finger is alone and has no partner so the number three is odd. Repeat with an even number like six (three numbers on each hand) and say do they all have a partner? Yes, this number is even.
I do this each day with calendar and all my students learn even and odd. Always remember to explain the vocabulary when you do this so the students understand what even and odd means. You can do this with any number – just use the last digit of the number. In the case of zero there are no partners and every finger is the same.”
Musical Math Review
Turn on the tunes with this fun math review idea by Judy, a 4th Grade Teacher, in Carol Stream, IL. “When completing a math unit, we play a station game to review concepts learned. After learning about graphs, for example, I place graphs with questions about maximum, minimum, range, medium, and mode around the room. Students work in groups of 2 or 3 with an answer sheet.
When I turn on a music CD, they move to the next station. There they find the answers to the previous station on the back of the next graph. I walk around the room and listen to their conversations, usually discovering what items we need to revisit before the test. Students like moving around the room and having the freedom to check their own answers. After the game, we create a line plot of their results, giving them another opportunity to review the concepts.”