Tips for getting children excited about math

For many children, math doesn’t feel easy or natural, let alone fun. Getting children excited about math, especially when they’re already struggling or distracted, can feel like a Herculean task.

And more children than ever are suffering from learning gaps due to the pandemic. How can educators possibly catch kids up and keep them motivated? It’s a tricky situation, but it’s not impossible.

We’ve seen the struggle, and we know that educators have to use every tool at their disposal to keep kids engaged in and out of the classroom. We’ve rounded up some top tips to help get children excited about math so you can help them close those learning gaps and maybe even learn to like math a little more.

Gamify Math

It can be hard to compete with online games and apps to steal kids’ attention. When you’re teaching math, don’t compete. Instead, use the technology that kids already know and love to gamify their math lessons.

Online platforms make any lesson feel less like work and more like fun. Many children are already used to consuming their knowledge and entertainment digitally, so it makes sense to bring math into the digital realm where the kids are already spending their time.

Online math games and digital math practice are great tools that can make learning new math skills less intimidating. They’re also great for remediation and intervention, particularly games that adapt to the student’s ability as they improve. Try and incorporate these into your daily or weekly lessons if you aren’t already, and you may just find that the kids ask for more.

Keep It Real

For many upper elementary and middle-grade students, math seems to become an abstract concept. As lessons get more challenging, it can be difficult for students to see how their math lessons relate to everyday life. 

Demonstrate how essential these math skills are by utilizing everyday occurrences where students will use these skills. By putting aside the textbooks and ‘playing’ with everyday math situations, you’ll help kids grow their confidence with the math needed in the real world.

Break out the Monopoly board, teach students how to make a personal budget, or prepare a simple recipe that calls for math skills. Your students will soon see how essential math is and how fun it can be to use it in real life.

Use Manipulatives

Math manipulatives aren’t just for the youngest children. Even older students can benefit from a visual aid when doing math. Because math has so many abstract concepts, seeing these concepts in the physical form helps students develop a concrete understanding.

Jigsaw puzzles, tangrams, and even Rubik’s Cubes can help students learn math concepts in a way that may make more sense to them than if they simply learned the concept from a textbook. Math is all about problem-solving, and what better way to problem-solve than to get your hands on the problem?

The humble abacus has been around for centuries, and teachers are still using it in classrooms worldwide. It’s a great example of a manipulative that grows with the child and allows them to visualize even more complex math concepts such as multi-digit multiplication. Consider adding one to your classroom and watch as curious kids line up to give it a try.

Use Consumables in the Classroom

While digital math lessons and online platforms are fun, never overlook the power of the mighty printable. Workbooks, graphic organizers, and foldables can all be valuable tools in the math classroom. 

When children are learning new skills, having a visual reminder of the new information can be invaluable. Interactive notebooks offer students an easy place to store and access the information they need to learn new concepts.  

These individualized consumable tools also help kids establish ownership of their knowledge. They’re perfect for helping students go from hands-on learning to memorization, and they’re easily customizable to meet every student’s needs.

Bring Books Into the Equation

Math concepts can be dry and challenging for students to relate to everyday life. However, books that discuss or use math theories and ideas can be entertaining and educational all at the same time. 

Whether you build a math library in your classroom or assign math-related reading to your students, combining math and reading can help many students better understand both math concepts and their importance. And there are many books about math to choose from, so you’re sure to find something for every learner in your class.

Make Math Exciting for Your Students

At De Alba Math Center, we think math is already pretty exciting. But your students don’t have to take our word for it. Our electronic math STAAR-aligned resources have been designed to keep students engaged and learning while still having fun.

Our workbooks are easily accessible online and fully compatible with Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and they offer electronic annotation for both teachers and students. We also offer fun and engaging printables for hands-on learning opportunities that are TEKS-standard and STAAR-aligned. 
Bring the fun back into your math classroom. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you make math exciting for your students.


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