Math has always been labeled as one of the least popular subjects in school. When you hear the word math, some phrases that come to mind are boring, impossible, confusing, and even anxiety inducing. Students, particularly at the elementary and middle school level, tend to easily give up when a math problem presents itself as challenging. Math doesn’t have to be hard — in fact, it can actually be quite FUN!
The typical homeschool math curriculum consists of lessons followed by the completion of worksheets and rote practice. One way to make homeschool math fun is to use manipulatives. Manipulatives are hands-on materials that a student can manipulate to understand a mathematical concept. Some examples of manipulatives are counters, tangrams, base ten blocks, money, dice, Cuisenaire rods, geoboards, fraction strips, and much, much more. Manipulatives help students understand why a mathematical operation works, and this is essential to master the Common Core State Standards (which have been adopted by 42 of the 50 states). Manipulatives make math fun because students are interacting with numbers instead of just writing and solving equations on paper; A tangible solution helps commit the concept to memory and engages the student in the content.
A second way to make homeschool math fun is to incorporate games into the curriculum to help students practice new concepts. Games make homeschool math fun because it provides students an opportunity to feel successful. It provides excitement by giving students an opportunity to have friendly competition amongst each other and feel a sense of achievement when they get a problem right or win. A simple game that can be used to practice various different math skills and students’ basic math facts is cards; An added bonus: you probably already have a deck lying around the house!
Lastly, making connections to the real world not only makes math fun, but it also makes it meaningful and memorable for students. When a student can recognize math in their reality outside of the curriculum, it becomes much more valuable to them because they know it will be a skill they use and need every day. Students will be more invested and persistent to learn the subject, no matter how hard the problems get. Some ways in which we use math every day are baking, shopping, gardening, building, planning a party, or decorating your home. Making connections to the real world makes math fun because you can do all of these activities with your student while still learning the math behind them.
So, the days of just sitting in front of the whiteboard and copying notes are over! With the right tools, we can turn math into one of the most popular subjects in school. Math does not have to be tedious and overwhelming; It can be engaging, thoughtful, and most importantly fun.
Need more inspiration? Look below for your child’s grade level to find additional ways to make math fun at home during quarantine or in the classroom. Also, if you found this article valuable, you may also like: https://www.liviusprep.com/how-to-address-the-social-emotional-needs-of-your-child-during-covid-19.html
Fun math activities for 3rd and 4th graders:
- Use Hopscotch to create equations
- Play Twister with a math spin to it
- Create a scavenger hunt
Fun math activities for middle schoolers: