Children are often very eager to learn when in elementary school. However, one subject where it can be harder for teachers to engage students is the area of elementary math. Because of this, teachers need to implement techniques into their lesson plans to engage students and encourage them in learning math.
Take the opportunity to show your students how they will use math outside the classroom. A good way to do that is by inviting community members to the classroom to talk about their careers and how they use math in their daily lives. Students will better understand why they need math, and be more eager to practice with it with classroom guests.
There are many math games available that will make the skills easier to learn. Learning with speed is a common way students practice their basic math facts. Learning and practicing with quickness easily translates into playing games. Even something as simple as having children pass a ball around to the students’ classroom and asking each other basic facts is more fun to students than filling in a worksheet.
Many students love watching videos or listening to CD’s in class. While math videos may not be as common as what is available for learning social studies, science and other subjects, there are plenty of great math videos available on the Internet and elsewhere. Math videos can help make important connections between math facts and everyday life that many students constantly struggle with.
Computer activities are a fun way for kids to practice their skills in and out of the classroom. There are paid programs as well as many online games that are free for children to use. Not only do these make good classroom activities, they are an excellent way for students to stay in practice on weekends and during the summer.
Students sometimes learn best when they aren’t working directly with their teacher. Consider pairing your students, or those that struggle most, with a mentor that can help with difficult concepts. Working with a mentor can give kids a new perspective on math and how it is used. Some ideas for mentors include:
There are many ways to make math lessons new and exciting. Teachers who are willing to go beyond the textbook and worksheet approach to elementary math can help mold students into lifelong learners who will grow up finding math enjoyable and useful—instead of dreading it.
Discover more ways to help students learn mathematics. Learn how a teaching degree in math education can give you insights about improving student outcomes in mathematics.