Mathematics is a subject many children struggle with throughout all of their schoolings. Unlike reading and writing, mathematics takes a different learning approach, requiring students to have a firm math foundation, they may not be able to learn new things without previous knowledge. Similarly, Mathematics can be difficult because of its abstract and cumulative nature.
To make math more engaging, Hands-on mathematics can be taught to stimulate curiosity, engage student interest and build important prior knowledge. Games are a fun and engaging way to reinforce concepts taught in the classroom. Often, students are having so much fun that they don't even know they're learning! With this in mind, try these math activities.
For this game, simply write amounts of money on paper cupcake liners with a marker. Then set out some coins. Then, place the cupcake liners on a cupcake tin. Put a timer on, and have your child or students fill up the tin as fast as they can!
- Subtraction squish First, use a piece of masking tape to create a number line on the floor. Adjust the numbers you will be using to fit your individual child’s or student's math level. Next, have the kids roll balls from play dough. Then it’s time to play! You can ask a variety of subtraction problems aloud. You could also use flashcards with this activity, allowing them to work independently. Once you ask the subtraction problem, have your child line up the correct number of play dough balls and then squish them to find the right answer. (For instance, if the problem was 10-6, they would put a ball on each number up to 10, and then squish 6 of the balls. Looking at the remaining un-squished spheres, helps them see the answer is 4.)
The Nacho Matemáticas series has practice exercises to accompany these two activities. For the first counting activity, you can utilize pages 26 and 29 that focus on money counting to reinforce the topic. For the second activity on subtraction, pages 80 to 83 focus on more complex adding and subtracting exercises if you wish to give your children or students a more challenging activity. In general, the series is a hands-on math book that combines reading, writing, coloring, and lots of fun visuals with math teachings.
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Written by: Valeria Flores. University of California Los Angeles. Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Linguistics. Bilingual teacher.