As technology continues to change the learning environment, you’re probably seeking an innovative way to teach math to coincide with how students learn. While e-books and typing are incorporated to practice reading and writing, it can be more difficult to find new ways to reinforce math lessons without worksheets.
Not only do worksheets become a daunting task to review and grade, but kids are tired of the repetition. And while some schools choose to take the no homework approach preventing worksheets from being sent home, they are still commonly used in the classroom.
Although worksheets are easy to use and make planning a breeze, it’s time to think outside the box when teaching students math basics. To help, we’ve outlined three ways to reinforce math principles without the use of worksheets.
Use physical objects
Before calculators and other pieces of technology, math problems were solved using an abacus, a tool with columns of beads or stones to represent units. While it seems outdated, there is something we can learn from this tool. Using physical objects to represent units of measurement give children a comprehensive, visual understanding of numbers for counting. Hands-on learning encourages children to use their creativity, assisting with both basic addition and subtraction.
Think about how difficult it would be to teach someone a new game without physically demonstrating how it is played. Of course, you will be able to explain most of the rules but for a person to fully understand and retain the information, they need a hands-on demonstration. Giving kids a hands-on experience will help enhance the basic rules of math to optimize knowledge and understanding.
Take advantage of technology
Going old school with hands-on learning methods is great. However, don’t discount tech tools available for teaching. We live in a digital age and the number of apps and tech toys available for education is constantly growing. Applications can make learning math fun for kids while still being educational. When looking for technology to incorporate in teaching math, make a list of educational standards you’ll need the app or tool to uphold.
Look for applications that are engaging and mindful. They should be fun, but not take away from the lesson at hand. Throw in some technology into the mix to help visual learners. I’d recommend finding applications that mix both technology and hands-on learning to deliver the most engaging math lessons.
Insert math into other activities
Math lessons don’t have to happen only during your allotted “math time”. Math can be incorporated into many subjects to encourage a holistic understanding of numbers. Group multiple subjects together by having students write and read story problems. Encourage kids to channel his or her inner creativity by writing their own story problems and solving them together as a class. This combines reading, writing, and math into one activity.
Another way to merge activities is to take a tip from P.E. class and get active. Playing games, like basketball or kickball, encouraging kids to count to keep score. This is not only a creative way to practice math principles but gives kids a break from sitting. You can insert math into games or create your own. Also, try mixing math into everyday activities. For example, having students count off when getting in line or solving a quick addition problem before entering the classroom.
While worksheets are still widely used, there are other creative ways to teach math. By trying a few new activities, you and your students will mix up boring routines and you might find a new favorite way to teach that you can implement into other subjects. The key is to challenge yourself to experiment with new teaching methods and not be afraid to insert some fun and creativity.