While technology is constantly changing today’s learning environment, you’re probably still looking for a way to finally ditch those math worksheets and teach math in a way equating with how students learn. While typing and e-books are easily inserted into writing and reading lessons, finding innovative ways to teach math proves to be more difficult.
Kids are tired of completing worksheet after worksheet, just like you’re probably tired of reviewing and grading them. Although more and more schools have stopped sending worksheets home due to the no homework approach, they are still ubiquitous in some classrooms.
Yes, worksheets are easy to find and use which makes lesson planning simple, but it’s time to think more creatively when teaching math basics. We’ve put together three ways to reinforce math principles without worksheets to get you started.
Include Math in Other Subjects
Having designated time to teach math doesn’t mean you have to keep all math lessons within that time frame. Math can be merged with almost any subject to help students gain a more holistic understanding of numbers. Insert math into an English lesson by encouraging students to write and read their own story problems, followed by solving them. This one exercise combines reading, writing, and math, helping students practice multiple skills at once.
Another option when looking to combine lessons in multiple subjects is to get up and get active. Use recess, or class time to play games that encourage students to practice counting to keep score, like basketball or kickball. Using class time to take part in a physical activity gives students a break from sitting and is a creative way to practice math principles. Try creating your own games or insert math into games you already know. Math can even be mixed into a variety of everyday activities. For example, try having the kids solve a simple addition or subtraction problem before entering the classroom or count off by 2s or 3s when forming a line.
Use Hands-on Learning
Long before calculators were readily available on every tech device, math problems were solved with a tool made of columns of beads or stones that represented units, known as an abacus. This tool, although a bit outdated, has something to teach us. Kids get a comprehensive, visual understanding of numbers when they participate in hands-on learning by using physical objects. This approach allows students to learn basic addition and subtraction while also encouraging them to be creative.
Imagine the difficulty that comes with teaching someone a new game without being able to actually demonstrate how to play. Explaining rules will be simple, but people need hands-on visualization in order to understand how to play. Help students understand and retain the basic rules of math by giving them a hands-on experience with tactile objects.
Use Innovative Technology
While hands-on learning is great, do not forget about the educational tech tools available. The number of apps and tech toys made for educational purposes is growing as we continue living in this digital age. This technology can be educational while making math fun for students. When searching for the right app or tool to use while teaching math, first create a list of educational standards you need the technology to possess.
Seek applications that are engaging. Yes, they should be fun, but they should not distract from the math lesson. Mixing technology into lesson plans helps those visual learners. Even better, create the most engaging lessons by using applications that pair technology and hands-on learning.
Worksheets are still widely used in the classroom, but there are other creative ways to teach and enforce those math lessons. When you and your students change up those boring lesson plans by trying new activities, you will find renewed engagement and might even discover a favorite new way to teach that can be used in other class subjects. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself and include fun and creativity into your teaching methods.