Math class can be a challenge for many students, particularly those who struggle with the subject.
However, by making math class more interactive, teachers can help students better understand and retain the material while increasing their engagement and enthusiasm. This is especially important as more and more students are playing catch-up due to pandemic math learning loss.
Learn more about activities for making math more interactive and the benefits of doing so.
Making math hands-on helps students understand mathematical concepts through active participation and experimentation in the learning process.
This approach to teaching math is especially effective for students who struggle with abstract concepts, as it allows them to engage physically with the material. The instructional framework of CRA (concrete, representational, abstract) is built on this concept and extends it further.
Students can explore, investigate, and make connections enhancing and deepening their understanding of the material. This enhances students' ability to perform metacognition and participate in inquiry-based learning.
Keep in mind that getting students up and out of their seats is the best way to learn, especially in math class. Also, many of these activities can be assigned as stations, but it would require scaffolding or an introduction to how it works.
Examples of hands-on math activities include:
- Building geometric shapes with blocks or other manipulatives.
- Creating visual representations of mathematical concepts, such as bar graphs, pie charts, and line plots.
- Solving mathematical problems through hands-on activities, such as measuring and comparing lengths, weights, and capacities.
- Exploring mathematical concepts through puzzles that require students to manipulate the material physically.
Math games are a fun and engaging way to help students learn and retain mathematical concepts.
Games can reinforce basic skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as more advanced topics, such as geometry and algebra.
Game-based learning and Gamification both resonate well with students. They can tackle challenging problems interactively, but they also present information in a way that encourages fun competition.
Examples of math games include:
- Board games, such as Monopoly, require students to use mathematical concepts in a real-world context.
- Card games, such as War, that reinforce basic math skills.
- Group games, such as Math Bingo, that encourage students to work together to solve mathematical problems.
Real-World Connections in math
Making real-world connections is an effective way to help students see the relevance of mathematical concepts in their daily lives.
By connecting math to real-world situations and problems, students can see the application of math in day-to-day things. Making real-world connections helps avoid questions like Why are we learning this? Or Are we ever going to use this in real life?
Examples of real-world connections include:
- Using real-world data to solve mathematical problems, such as calculating the cost of a home renovation or the amount of money needed to save for retirement.
- Exploring real-world applications of mathematical concepts, such as using geometry to design a garden or calculate the volume of a swimming pool.
- Encouraging students to think about the mathematical concepts they use daily, such as measuring ingredients for a recipe or calculating the distance to their favorite place.
- Incorporating real-world case studies and examples into lessons, such as using the stock market to teach about probability and statistics.
The Benefits of an interactive math class
Hands-on math learning offers many benefits for students of all ages. Students can build a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts by using concrete materials and engaging in hands-on activities. Here are some of the benefits of making your math class more interactive.
Interactive activities help to engage students and make math class more enjoyable. This can lead to increased motivation and a positive attitude toward the subject.
Hands-on and interactive activities can help students to better understand and retain mathematical concepts. By physically engaging with the material, students can develop a deeper understanding of the relationships between different concepts and how they are applied in real-world situations.
Developed Critical Thinking Skills & Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills
Interactive math activities can also help students develop critical thinking skills as they are required to analyze and interpret data, make predictions, and think creatively to solve problems. This can help to build their confidence and ability to think critically about mathematical problems.
By making math more interactive and engaging, students are more likely to remember and retain the material over the long term. Engaging with a concept changes the way students interpret and receive information. It is more likely to resonate with students because they become active participants rather than passive learners.
Math is more than notes and practice problems
Hands-on math activities allow students to collaborate and communicate with their peers, which can further develop their social and communication skills. It also helps to address different learning styles, as students who struggle with traditional lecture-style teaching can often excel in a hands-on learning environment.
Incorporating hands-on learning into math education provides students with a fun and engaging way to develop a strong foundation in mathematical concepts, which will serve them well in their future academic and professional careers.