“It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.” – GK Chesterton
Math doesn’t live inside of a book. That is the wrong way to teach math. Math is useful for solving problems, and necessary to figure out the world around us. We can get our students to learn math in engaging ways by making sure each lesson gets to use the math for real-world learning. Instead of having students solve problems in a book, give them learning missions where they use the principles and equations to explore the school grounds, their households, or the world around them. For example, students can research the statistics of their favorite team or players and create an interactive infographic displaying these statistics using Thinglink, EduBuncee, or Piktochart. Students can code a game, learn geometry and trigonometry while building structures in Minecraft, or interview math experts virtually. My recent presentation, It All Adds Up?, is full of more ideas.
Enjoyed these ideas? Get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers and Learning to Go.
- Teachers often share resources with these keywords- Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Science Technology Engineering Arts Math (STEAM or STEM)
- Useful hashtags to find resources are #Math, #MathChat, and #Maths.
- We tend to get too caught up in teaching with books or slides. Instead, get your students interested in the lesson through any of these types of instructional methods: multimedia, visual aids, screencasts, hands-on learning, sensory learning, TPR- total physical response, graphic organizers, visual aids, realia, flashcards, pair work/group work, storytelling, diagrams, foldables, labeling, games,problem/project based learning, mindmapping and notetaking.
- Get them sewing. They will follow patterns and take measurements.
- Students can visualize data and create infographics. Free infographic creators include Piktochart, Easel.ly, and Canva.
- Google Docs and Spreadsheets have great add-ons for math to type equations and solve math problems. Check out my Google resources here!
- Learn through cooking! Find recipes here. Students can learn math, science and literature while helping feed others by creating cookbooks. I recommend using BookCreator, Issuu, or FlipSnack. Enhance the cookbooks by getting students to include short how to videos, images, or audio clips of interviews explaining the science, history, traditions or origins of the recipe.
- Transform word problems into comics! Check out this blog with examples. Find free comic creators here!
- Get them to solve Emoji word problems!
- They can create videos of their word problems to visualize them! Try Educreations, Touchcast, or Powtoons. See this example by Mrs. Wideen’s first graders using Educreations!
- Students can study the math and physics of the slides, swings, or other playground equipment.
- Students can take what they learn and apply it into building their own playgrounds. They can use Legos.
- Get them to conduct field research with local engineers and contractors.
- Students can measure their shadows at different times of the day. Get them to bring in other objects and draw what they predict the shadows will be depending on the time and location.
- Get them to test different distances and angles with their bodies playing different sports to improve their game!
- Foldables are great for learning. Find examples here!
- Great free math apps include Digital Fractions Blast, Math vs. Zombies, Math Chat to show homework, and Maths Everywhere that shows the math around us.
- The Mathematics Shed is one of my favorite math blogs with such innovative activities for students, such as Star Wars math problems.
- Yummy Math has plenty of real world math problems to solve that are interesting.
- Find visual and audio word problems at Hey Math!
- Math is Fun has plenty of activities as well as a visual math dictionary.
Challenge: Try one of these ideas to get students applying math to explore the world around them!
If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.