5 Creative Ideas to Make Math Class Interesting

lachende schulkinder mit lehrernMath classes can get stuck in a dull routine unless teachers work to keep things fresh. Keep teaching those important fundamentals, but mix it up to keep students on their toes.

Let Students Struggle

Americans tend to think if students struggle, that means something is wrong. The Asian view is that the struggle is an important part of the learning process. An athlete lifts weights (struggling at times) to become stronger. Give math students some brain teasers or some problems from a more advanced textbook. Challenge them to see what they can come up with—and what questions they need to answer or skills they need to learn.

Game Show Time!

Make a simple Jeopardy or Concentration board for students. Use this to drill math vocabulary, multiplication facts. Match the items that are equivalent, such as x to the zero power and 1, or 1+3 and 2+2. You may also make BINGO cards to use while the caller reads math problems and students look for answers.

Play With Blocks

Why not use real blocks to visualize surface areas and volumes? While holding a cubic foam block, it is easy to see that it has 6 square faces. Let students build structures, then compute the volume of the structure.

Paper Models

Printable nets for polyhedra are available online. Students can cut them out and tape them together to get a better idea of how polygons combine to form 3-D forms. Older students can try constructing polygons with compasses and straight edges. (Consult a drafting book for ideas.)

Use the Board

Some students need a little competition to get their minds working harder. Send a few students to the board. Give them a problem to work. When you say “Go!” they begin. Let the class note not only who finishes first, but see if different people used different strategies.

Mix up the lecture/seatwork format and see what happens. Try these ideas and come up with more of your own.



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