What do you remember the most about childhood?
For me, one of the things that stands out is how I used to play. Running outside, climbing trees, even playing dress up. While I remember school, the lessons that stand out are the ones that could be applied in real life. Interactive lessons that were also fun were the most effective. From counting candy to playing cashier or having a lemonade stand, these lessons help me to experience maths rather than just learning maths.
Interactive lessons help your students feel engaged
Hands-on activities also make your student remember and retain knowledge much easier!
Making class lesson engaging is a leading problem in education, especially with so many programs online these days. Students often struggle with learning maths and feel disconnected from what numbers are and how to use them. They don't know how to apply what they've learnt on a piece of paper to everyday situations in their life.
That’s where you, as the teacher, can come in and change that. By adding hands-on activities and using multi-sensory manipulatives, you can engage your student much more easily, as well as teach them maths skills that they will remember for life.
What are the benefits of “hands-on” learning?
To combine the real world with maths curriculum is called “hands-on” learning. When students are able to correlate new concepts from the curriculum with real-world concepts, their brains are stimulated. The knowledge acquired through this style of teaching is easier retained for long term memory. Hands-on learning helps develop critical thinking and analytical skills which will continue to be beneficial throughout their life. These are the skills imperative to further success in life, including study options, university and career choices. More importantly, hands-on learning adds fun to the lessons for both the teacher and the student.
To teach multi-sensory maths efficiently, we must take into account the four different learning styles that each student has. Have you heard of the VARK method?
Here are the four types of learners:
Look at those statistics for hands-on learners! Imagine that, almost 40% of students in every classroom are dying to touch and feel what they are being taught and yet are rarely compensated.
How do you incorporate hands-on learning into your lesson?
First of all, start by asking yourself a simple question: "How will this topic translate to them in real life?"
Each lesson will have real-world implications. Perhaps instead of using formula and worksheets to teach algebra, ask your students a simple question. Grab a few apples and ask them to write an equation using the apples x days of the week x how much the apples cost and find an answer. They'll be doing basic algebra with apples!
Here's a good definition for the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners:
Therefore, it's important to make sure you include a little bit of each of these learning styles into your teaching methods so your students can understand and integrate what's being taught.
Work with your student to have fun with maths
Eeekk.... is that even possible, you ask? Have fun teaching such a hard, boring subject?
Yes it's very possible! It's just that most teachers aren't taught with all the fun elements of blocks and activities and games. Most curriculums teach maths with boring numbers on a page and force the student to learn by ongoing repetition. It's just that that method doesn't work for many kids, so it's a waste of time!
However, there's a popular solution to maths on the market. The Math-U-See program teaches everything from basic addition to algebra using hands-on manipulatives are a great way to fuse hands-on learning into your lessons. Working with tangible blocks they can see and feel can help them understand maths concepts. This creates a solid foundation to build upon with formulas and word problems.
Begin with one to two hands-on activities per week. Once you start, you’ll find more creative ways to incorporate them into your lesson plans. There's also some great maths activities out there from parents and teachers alike, who have found out what has worked for their kids.
Here's our favourite 100 Math Activities, that you can do with your student to engage them further in maths and learning their numbers. The best thing is, it's all outside the classroom!
Have fun learning!
The Team at Maths Australia