There are a lot of teachers who dislike teaching maths and it is often the least liked subject in the classroom by many students. Teachers need to be enthusiastic about every subject – it will encourage your students to also be enthusiastic – even about maths.
Here are ten tips that I have come up with to make maths more enjoyable and successful for students (and teachers!).
1. Relate it to the Real World
Learning should be made relevant to the students and a good start to a maths lesson is to explain how/where/why the mathematics concept is used in the real world. For example; before teaching perimeter/area brainstorm which occupations would need to calculate the perimeter/area.
This is a great video clip to show your class which explains that mathematics/numeracy is everywhere:
Make the mathematical concept relevant to their world. Would a student rather work out how many apples fit into a box or how many handballs would fit in the school sport box? Better yet, ask them to create their own.
2. Make Mathematics Enjoyable
Be creative and try to come up with lessons that enables students to learn mathematical concepts without even realising it. Get the students involved and moving around.
- Multiplication Table CD that the students sing along to instead of multiplication table drills
- Allow the students to walk around the classroom choosing objects to practise hefting with a partner
- Call multiplication and division the ‘king’ and ‘queen’
3. Use ICT
Students love ICT so it would make sense to embrace it within mathematics.
- Use your interactive whiteboard (IWB). There are so many math resources on your IWB that your students would love.
- Take a video of students explaining a mathematical concept and upload it to your classroom blog or wikipage
- Use online mathematical games and sites E.g http://www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com/dictionary.html
- Take photos of students working on mathematics and ask them to arrange the photos in a procedure format including their captions as steps to complete the mathematical problem
- Use google earth images to outline perimeters and areas
Here is a great example of a class wikispace: http://weareroom1.wikispaces.com/Maths
4. Use Materials
Concrete materials are not just for the younger primary years. They should be used whenever the students need them, whether that be in year 1 or year 6.
Mathematical concrete materials can be amazing in helping the students to understand a concept.
There are so many materials you can use;
- Base 10 blocks
- Geo strips
- Pattern blocks
- Joining cubes
- Rods (great for fraction work)
- Geo boards
- Blank cubes
- Fraction pieces (or create your own)
- Masking tape to create a metre square on the floor
5. Dedicate a Space in your Classroom Promoting Maths
Students love a decorated classroom, a lot of teachers decorate their classroom in amazing ways. Ensure you have a space in your classroom dedicated to maths and ensure it is in a prominent space in the class where students can see it.
- Put up posters promoting maths
- Display the students’ work
- Put up photos of students working on maths
6. Group Work
Allow students to work in groups in mathematics lessons. You may devise the groups into ability levels at times or mix the groups so that the students who have a greater understanding of the mathematical concept are able to help those who are struggling to understand.
See a previous post regarding group work.
7. Warm Up Games
Every mathematics lesson should begin with a warm up activity. It could be counting by 2’s, 3’s, counting odd numbers, stating a multiplication table or a short mathematics game.
There are many games available, find ideas on the internet or in countless books.
Praise students when they try their best in every subject. It encourages them, gives them confidence and a positive outlook.
At the end of each lesson there should be a closure to reinforce what the students have learnt that lesson.
- Put sentence starters on the board and allow the students to choose one and complete the sentence (Today I was a mathematician because…. I learnt that …. I found it difficult to …. I need to practise …. )
- Brainstorm what the students have learnt on the board
- Ask some students to share their work with the class
- Ask the students to write one thing they learnt today
10. Relevant Math Homework
This is relevant to all subjects; ensure the homework given to the students that week correlates with the work in class. This will help to reinforce the concepts learnt in class and the teacher is also able to gain an insight into the students’ understanding.
Do you have any more tips?
What do you do to make maths fun in your classroom?
Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net