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Math can seem to be quite intimidating for a lot of kids. For many, it’s a nightmarish subject to learn or even teach. Standardized tests are used in most districts to assess the level of understanding in students, but the sad reality is that few want to teach the subject.
Many rely on material designed for test prep, while others emphasize on ‘drill and kill’ worksheets. This habit wastes time and doesn’t help in creating any motivation in the students.
In this article, we’ll show how you can motivate the kids to have more fun while learning math. We’ll explain 15 ways you can effectively teach the kids to learn math in a creative manner. But before diving into the article, click here to read a review on a graphing calculator. (You never know when you will need one!)
The First Step- Raising the Bar
There’s a thought process imbedded in many girls that math isn’t something interesting. I have seen many girls in 2nd or 3rd grade embracing this concept.
Instead of making your students think that math is something that requires talent since birth, motivate the kids to know that with adequate practice and time, anyone can succeed in becoming proficient in this subject.
A very helpful way you can do this is by building math equity. Let the kids know about the importance of math and its endless possibilities- make sure that they’re highly motivated about learning it.
Get Rid of Your Own Fear of Math
It’s important to know that many instructors will have a negative perception of math, just like their students. There are many reasons- one being that many teachers had similar negative experiences with math while they were in school.
This negativity is contagious- don’t let it get to your students. You should try to offer practical solutions and strategies while motivating your students. There isn’t any need to give them consolation if they’re struggling with the learning process.
Take Steps Now- Don’t Wait for Tomorrow
As a teacher, you should be prepared to teach the concepts that students need to learn for the annual tests. Carefully design your year-round instruction as early as possible. This will help the students in many ways- they’ll get a better grasp of the concepts early on and have more time for practicing them. You’ll also be able to know which foundational skills you need to teach beforehand.
The best part- you won’t have to rush in order to teach the concepts a month or two before the tests.
Take Tests to Assess Your Students’ Learning
The tests need not be too complicated or too simple. A 5-minute quiz can really help you in knowing the weaknesses and capabilities of your students. This practice will assist you in making any modifications to your instructions if needed. Testing should be a part of your instruction plan. You’ll be able to identify the areas you should emphasize on for future classes.
Carefully Observe Every Individual Student
Many of us fall into the trap of teaching too fast in order to cover all the content. As a result of this habit, many students cannot keep up with the pace of instruction. You should observe the performance of every individual student. You should talk with the students individually to know their weaknesses and put them in groups if needed.
Make Connections with Other Learning Areas
There’s no better way to make the students interested in math than making them understand how the world is connected with it. Let them know how the musical scales are based on a mathematical formula or how Leonardo da Vinci explained many of his arts using math. This will allow your students to think about everything else they learn and observe in the context of math.
Allow Your Students to Choose How to Learn
If you offer your students multiple options on how they want to learn, they’ll be highly motivated to participate in the learning process. You can assign them projects or allow them to learn different techniques from various textbooks. Once you get to see what they’ve learned, you can adjust your lectures to fix any weaknesses in any area.
Encourage Your Students to Talk More about Math
These conversations should not only happen between you and your students- encourage your students to discuss various solving techniques and formulas among themselves. Practices like these allow the students to get more comfortable with math and find new ways to solve the problems more efficiently. The students also get to know the logical reason behind a mathematical problem and its solution.
There are tons of math games out there that you can play in real life or on your smartphone. It’s a great way to learn about math in a fun way. Instead of viewing maths as a chore, students will develop the necessary mathematical thinking and fluency while playing these games. They can also practice math through these games outside school.
When you explain multiplication through real-life LEGO bricks, you’ll be surprised at how well they understand various abstract ideas. This method of learning is an excellent way to get a strong mental grasp of the many abstract mathematical concepts.
Developing Understanding in Your Students is the Key
Remember, it’s vital that you instill an understanding of the concepts in your students- making them memorize formulas is not a good way to do that. You should let the kids think about how to approach a problem, evaluate alternative methods of solving, and find a suitable formula for solving. This is a much better way to make them understand math instead of just starting the lecture with the formula.
Solving Real-Life Problems
Kids love it when they’re told to solve real-life math problems. A sixth grader will definitely find calculating the area of a wall excluding the posters exciting rather than solving problems after memorizing some formulas.
Sometimes you should let your students struggle and think after you’ve presented them with a problem. Give them little information about the problem- just enough so that they can come up with different strategies. This is a great way to encourage students to think more and find out more about their weaknesses.
Keep the Classes Exciting through Rewards
You can give badges or certificates of recognition to the best-scoring students or teams at the end of every week. This’ll keep the class exciting for the students, and they’ll be motivated to do better and learn more.
Collaboration with Other Teachers
This is a very helpful way to make your math teaching skills a lot better- you’ll learn a lot from the experiences of other teachers. By sharing experiences with another teacher, you can also reflect on your own performance and fix any weakness you might have. Talk about your goals, planning, and the students in your class.
Students will perform better at tests when they find the math classes interesting. At the end of the day, you should try your best to present math as an exciting subject- not a boring or dreadful one.