Article contributed by Alison Rogers and Edited by Paul Stevens-Fulbrook.
How to Make Maths Fun and Interesting.
It is common knowledge that many people are not big fans of maths. This anxiety begins at an early age, creating lasting feelings of frustration with the subject. In most cases, this is caused by a lack of understanding of the main concepts.
For those who enjoy the subject, maths problems are exciting, and the thrill of finding solutions outweighs the challenges they face in the process. These students perform well in maths and other related subjects compared to those who find it difficult.
What is maths anxiety?
Research shows that maths anxiety is a problem affecting students worldwide. It is caused by the constant frustrations associated with the inability to understand maths concepts. Coupled with other stress factors which end up creating low self-confidence, maths becomes a dreaded topic.
Luckily, maths anxiety can be controlled at a young age to ensure children grow up associating maths with positive feelings. Understanding mathematical concepts is important, as they are applied in other academic fields such as physics and chemistry.
When we apply positive reinforcement in the classroom, we are helping to boost students’ confidence in their ability to handle problems. This helps, of course, in reducing their maths anxiety.
Even while away from school during the holidays, it is important to encourage students to practise mathematical concepts to ensure they are not forgotten. It is estimated, for example, that up to 11 weeks’ worth of maths skills can be lost over the summer!
This could be prevented by advising parents to hire a qualified tutor who will ensure constant maths work. This will be very helpful to kids, since an average of 2-3 hours of active learning each week is enough to prevent the loss of maths skills.
In addition to positive reinforcement, making the process of learning fun will help in preventing maths anxiety. Below are some ways to make maths fun for kids, which will increase their performance.
1. Application of Mathematics in Real Life.
The perception that maths is ambiguous and complex makes it difficult for students to understand it.
While simple mathematics such as addition and subtraction are easily relatable to real-world situations, complex processes such as algebra and trigonometry are not.
In the classroom, making maths relatable could be done by applying things such as storytelling to help them associate concepts with things they understand.
2. Teaching Math Through Art Lesson Plans.
To make maths fun, you could use other forms of art which kids enjoy. Such art forms include sculpting, painting, and drawing.
When kids learn to apply mathematical concepts in other disciplines they love such as painting and music, they appreciate it more and the positive attitude helps in boosting their understanding.
3. Use Guided Maths to Make it Easier.
While too much direct instruction is boring for students and tiresome for teachers, finding the right balance could prove very beneficial.
As a teacher, you should gain an understanding of your students to determine who requires extra attention to grasp the concepts.
This could be done by dividing students into groups and teaching mathematical concepts to each group individually according to their needs.
4. Use Whole Class Math Games.
There are numerous fun games that kids can play in the classroom. Games are enjoyed by all children, and if you make it a tool through which you can teach them maths, you are sure to get results.
By using prizes such as rubbers, pencils and notepads, you could create a competitive environment through which the children will be motivated to learn the concepts needed to win.
5. Consider Integrating Technology in the Math Classroom.
One thing that students have in common is their love for all things technological.
A lot of educational technology tools allow people to practise their maths skills, and just the simple fact it’s online could make maths fun.
By using online-based resources, your students are likely to be more engaged and may end up paying more attention to your lessons. This will surely increase their rate of comprehension!
As a teacher, dealing with kids who have different capabilities can be challenging. Our website provides you with expert tips on the best practices to ensure you become a positive tool in their learning.
Maths anxiety refers to one’s anxiety of their ability to perform mathematical calculations. It affects children and adults. There is evidence that it is often more prevalent in females than males.
1. Apply real-life situations to maths problems.
2. Incorporate art into maths lessons.
3. Use guided teaching methods.
4. Incorporate whole class games to maths lessons.
5. Integrate technology to help students engage with maths.