5 Tricks to Help Kids Learn Math
Math facts need to be automatic before students can move on to master higher math. Use a variety of means to help students commit those fundamentals to memory.
Let Students “Teach”
Mix things up by letting a student show the class flash cards, ask for the answer, and check it for accuracy. Elementary students may enjoy being “in charge” and those who ask the questions will also learn the facts as others who answer those questions.
Offer students different art supplies to use while writing multiplication tables or addition facts. Even the dullest drill is more fun with colored chalk or crayons or markers. Use sidewalk chalk to make a giant multiplication table outside.
Students may also enjoy using small whiteboards and markers at their desks. Ask parents to send in an odd sock for each student to use as an eraser. Whiteboards eliminate paper waste and let students practice over and over.
Make up labels with math vocabulary or formulae and let students place them on appropriate objects in the room. For example, a clock is labeled “circle” while the door is a “rectangle.” Add the formula for computing the area of each.
Posters and bulletin boards are passive methods of teaching that keep information before students’ eyes. Look for interesting visuals or let student do the work for you. They can cut out shapes or make neat numbers to place on a bulletin board.
When there is a new formula to learn, such as the circumference of a circle, use that formula as a password. Students can give the password to go out for recess, ask a question, or leave for the day. Don’t keep them overnight if they forget, of course, but let them look it up. Passwords are fun.
Enjoy one or more of these tricks, knowing they are helping students learn and retain their fundamentals.