Math Can Be Fun!

Often students find math too challenging simply because they see no application for it. Although we tell them over and over again that there are many practical applications, they can not see it. We present them with reading stories to show the application, but they get lost in the reading and can’t figure out what the question is. In frustration we attempt to show them how to break the story down and a few are able to grasp the concept. How do we reach the rest? Hands-on learning is the easiest way for students to learn.

Hands-on in math? Of course, and don’t forget to make it fun. Children of all ages use math everyday. If a teacher doesn’t have that concept, he/she can’t present that concept to the student. Naturally we can see the use of adding and subtracting. Not surprisingly so can our students. Why? Because they add and subtract. Give a child five pieces of gum and tell them to give a piece to each of two friends. Then ask, “How many pieces will you have left?” The answer will be one of two. . .either the child will tell you, “Three pieces” or the child will tell you, “Five, I won’t share.” Either way, they did the math.

If a child can see the value of math then the concept simply has to be taught. Once taught and captured the child has it for life. Oh, it may have to be added to as the child matures, but the idea is valuable and therefore, the child is willing to learn. So, what kind of lesson plans teach children to desire math? One of my favorite lessons incorporates decimals.

Everyone is familiar with the game Monopoly. In our classroom we play Monopoly as a class. The students love it! The class is divided into small groups of three or four students. Each group forms a corporation. The group designs a logo, address, and name. Of course the name needs to pertain to real estate. The money is divided by 10. For example, if property sells for \$200.00 it becomes \$20.00. If rent is \$18.00 it becomes \$1.80. Doing this, students have to use decimals to figure their earnings and spendings (oh, we call them debits and credits.)

To increase the learning challenge we do not use cash. After all in the business world few people do business in cash. Most business is done in notes, checks, or credit applications. To keep it simple we use checks. Each group now has a job to design their checks. I give them copies of real checks from which to work. This, by the way, offers a great opportunity for a field trip.

The local bank enjoys getting involved in this part. I contact them, and arrange a field trip. The bank shows the students the premises and then explains how to keep a check book. This is a great opportunity to help students understand the importance of the financial institution.

The students begin with \$150.00 as their bank balance. I am the banker. It is each corporation’s responsibility to keep track of their debits and credits. It is also their responsibility to balance their bank statements with my records at the beginning of each play day (generally, Friday.) Throughout the game, I keep record of transactions. The bank writes checks for both the community chest and chance cards monetary awards. At the end of the day each corporation turns in a deposit slip to the bank with the checks they received throughout the play. These are checked and recorded by me (the banker) and a bank statement is developed for each corporation. A grade is given for their accuracy in bookkeeping.

My students have a blast and beg to play the game. Be aware it is slow going at first. Rules have to be taught and students have to learn to keep records and balance money. Students quickly learn to divide by 10 and to add and subtract decimals. The value of bookkeeping never has to be taught. It now belongs to them.

For more fun ideas go to the teacher’s corner at www.greenhouseland.com.

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“Why Do I Need To Learn Math?”

If you’re a teacher or a parent, you’ve probably heard this question before! Chances are good that as a student you even asked this question yourself.

Apparently JoLynn Colbert heard this question many times and decided to write a nice article to provide the answer for all of us who have had or heard this question. The article can be found at EzineArticles.com and is shown here for your pleasure.

Why Do We Have To Learn Math? Discover 6 Good Reasons

Students will often pose frustrating questions of various types to teachers or parents. Frequently, these questions are not really questions at all, but more of a whining complaint accompanied with the motive to waste time or sidetrack the teachers lesson plan. Some of your most spontaneous, off the cuff, answers may include: ” Because I said so,” or; “Because we are having a test tomorrow.” These words may slip out of our mouths even though we aware that these responses are inadequate. Sometimes however, the question is a legitimate one. A question we may have even asked ourselves from time to time. “Why do we have to learn math?” Below are a list of 6 good reasons to learn math. Also included is a possible assignment to give students to help them learn the reasons.

1. Simple math concepts build on themselves. We need simple math concepts to work into more advanced math concepts. Even if you get a job working with people, you will very likely still need math. Advanced math is needed for a near infinite list of many popular careers such as:

Computer fields

Finance and banking

Plumber

Electrician

Mechanic

Sales

Clothing designer

Builder

(fill in the blank)

Jobs for unskilled labor are becoming harder and harder to come by. Getting a good job with good pay will depend on your special skills that not everyone can offer. Math is one of those skills. Even if your job involves working mainly with people, it is very likely you will still have to use math. Learn math and get the job of your dreams.

2. Math is needed when you must decide how to create the very best arrangement for furniture, equipment for large groups of people at work or for a special occasion at home. Simple math concepts such as multiplying fractions and manipulating ratios make it easy to adjust cooking recipes to the number of people you want to serve. Learn math and make your personal life function better.

3. Math can help you create art. Not only will you want to get the correct sizes and color mixtures, math is used in almost every aspect of art. Major universities offer an entire class called “Mathematics in Art and Architecture”. Techniques like tiling, tessellation, perspective, pattern, and symmetry are some of the concepts used in art that require the use of math. Make yourself and your world more beautiful. Learn math.

4. People will often try to make you to believe something that isn’t true and may use math that seem to prove what they say. If you know how to check the math, you can steer clear of being the fool. the shady business of using math to lie is the subject of a classic book, “How to Lie With Statistics” by the author Darrell Huff. Written some 50 years ago, most of the deceptive math tricks described in his book are still being used on a regular basis. Even if someone is not trying to deceive you, it is possible that an error was made. For example: A laboratory test may show that a person has a particular disease. If mathematical errors were made in the analysis, the person may not have the disease at all. It is important to be able to understand any information that comes to you with a claim of “mathematical proof”. Don’t be fooled. Learn math.

5. Math is essential in personal finance issues and budgeting. In your personal life, you may use math to plan how budget your money. On the job you may need to plan how your company will spend money. Learn math and grow rich.

6. Learning math and solving problems is a mental exercise that improves your general thinking ability. It is like exercise for your brain. Want to become smarter in every way? Learn math.

It should be obvious that there are many more than 6 good reasons to learn math. The next time a math student asks you “Why do we have to learn this” make this simple assignment:

JoLynn Colbert

Author JoLynn Colbert invites you to view our FREE! Report on how to motivate your child. http://www.tutorfi.com/parents

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So there you have it! A very good article and your explanation as to why you (and your children) need to learn math!

Until next time – make sure you get your share of pi

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Teaching Tips For Helping Children To Learn Math

The perception that some children are gifted, born with “math know how” and learn math easily is not a truism!

If you are a teacher and want to effectively help your young students learn math, Jennifer Dobson has written a good article (which GoArticles.com published), and titled it:

How to Effectively Teach Young Children Math

Here is her article.

For a great number of students, mathematics creates an overload of anxiety. And many children dismiss math as a subject that they will have no use for in the “real world”. As an educator, you know that it is important for your students to develop strong math skills, but you likely find it difficult to motivate your students to learn math. The tips that follow will lighten the load for teachers as they help their students tackle the math monster and overcome their apprehension of math in general.

Stay Positive

Are you anxious about your own math skills? Are you worried that you cannot present math lessons properly? Many people are, and a lot of professionals were poor students in math themselves. Now that you are teaching math, you must keep a positive outlook on the subject as children can pick up on your emotions and learn your secret. Remember that is your students give up on their ability to do math now, they may miss some of the rudimentary basic skills that they need to do more advanced math later on in life.

Ensure Understanding

Understanding math is challenging, and this is especially true for young children. If a student is struggling with a homework assignment or worksheet, ask the student to explain the assignment to you, or to explain how to complete a particular problem; this helps you to gauge their understanding on particular concepts so that you will know how to better help them.

Exploring Math in Daily Life

It is easy for you to incorporate math into your daily life, and helping children understand how math affects their daily routines also helps to make them understand why math is necessary. For instance, create a math problem for subtraction by having the students to count the minutes left on your classroom clock before lunch, or ask them to multiply the number of boys in the class by the number of girls. This can help to reinforce the necessity of math and how it can apply to the real life.

Make Math Fun

Kids learn more effectively when they are enjoying themselves, so making math fun is important. Create worksheets and games that will add a fun element to each math unit. Games can be played with flash cards that allow kids to use math skills they are currently learning, or you can create a “Jeopardy” type game where students compete against one another to solve problems. Computer games also provide effective means for teaching math skills.

Get Parents Involved

You will find that involving parents in the learning process and maintaining communication with parents about each student’s progress in math will help motivate the student to achieve. Identifying any math problems and working with them to make sure homework is completed will go a long way towards helping the student meet the goals that are set for their grade level. Don’t be surprised to find out that many parents are insecure in their own abilities to do math as well. These students may need extra classroom help to make up for the help they cannot receive at home.