In the news today: “Only a third of students are numerate going into secondary school, and the process of teaching mathematics needs to be addressed, an Auckland University maths lecturer says.” And the problem is not limited to New Zealand.
So, if the experts say that the process of teaching mathematics needs to be addressed, the most important thing is to begin with teaching according to the students’ Learning Styles.
A Learning Style is the way in which a student understands new facts and memorises them best.
Some students need to visualise what they’re learning. Others require a tactile tool to help them absorb the lesson. Holistic students will benefit from math jokes and anecdotes.
Depending on your students’ learning strengths and needs, here are a few ways to make numeracy fun:
- Play a board game that requires number skills (“Snakes and Ladders” for counting from 1 to 100, Junior Monopoly for addition and subtraction).
- Bake a cake, measuring the ingredients and working out the cost of the cake based on the price of the flour, eggs, etc.
- Make flip-cards for your maths times-tables.
- Watch “Number Jacks” on TV.
Bear in mind, however, that you have to match the activities to the students’ Learning Styles. Ask yourself:
- Do your students concentrate better in the morning than in the afternoon?
- Do they get hyperactive when you switch on bright classroom lights?
- Will they become more engaged in the lesson if you let them do hands-on activities?
- Have a look here to find out.