Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Frustration Free Math Guest Blogger, Stacy!


Frustration-Free Math

Today’s guest post comes from Stacy, an 8th grade English teacher, Stacy has written articles and blog posts for multiple online publications and has designed curriculum and assessments on nearly every subject for teachers and educational publishers. You can often find Stacy writing for TeacherLingo.com. As the mother of two, Stacy is also committed to learning ways to help her children learn and develop.
Most students enjoy basic counting, addition and subtraction, but as math moves into multiplication, division, fractions and more complex concepts it can become frustrating. To help avoid the frustration, teachers and parents must move beyond the traditional way of looking at math. By incorporating non-traditional teaching strategies to appeal to students who do not have logical brains and helping them understand the relevance behind the math they are learning, math can become less of a frustration.

Playing Games to Learn

Turning mathematics instruction into a game makes it more appealing to most students. Games that simply require students to solve equations or answer basic questions before taking a turn can be effective. However, games that incorporate problem-solving and other basic math skills directly into the game play are even more effective. For example, students could be required to count out money to make purchases in a game or solve an equation to determine how many spaces to move. They may play a game which requires them to devise a method to determine the volume of a pitcher or determine how many items around the house they must measure to come up with 100 feet.

Real-Life Application

Many of the games students will find most enjoyable and most effective when it comes to learning math involve real-life application of basic math skills. Students who struggle with math often do not see how it is relevant to their daily lives. In addition to playing games with real-life connections, point out connections to math in a students’ daily lives. Ask them to locate shapes and angles around the house or open up a pretend restaurant in the kitchen. Cut up a cake to teach division and percentages or group items into equal sets to learn about multiplication.

Writing about Math

The more ways you present mathematical concepts and skills to students, the easier it will be for them to understand them. Having students write about math is one way to get them to look at it differently. With math journals, students are forced to put into words what they learned in math class and think about the difficulties they encountered. A sample entry may say “Today, we learned how to multiply positive and negative numbers. I had trouble with this because I could not remember that a negative times a negative always equals a positive. I do not understand how that can be.”
By writing about math, students can also tap into the real-life application of basic math concepts and skills. They can write stories where characters use the skills to solve problems or interact with the world around them or create poems to represent key facts they need to remember. Writing about math offers  students a way to put what they are learning into their own terms and help improve their learning.

Thinking Outside the Box

Frustration-free math is all about thinking outside the box. When a student does not understand how to multiply or divide, giving him worksheet after worksheet or rehashing the process over and over again will not help the process. Instead, you must think of creative ways to represent those concepts, either through games, real-life application or by connecting the concepts to other subjects, such as writing.

I hope you have enjoyed this guest post. I was excited to offer something different to my followers. I hope you take time to follow the links. When I followed the links, I found yet another wonderful resource for teachers! I posted some of my resources there including this freebie! Enjoy!!

1 comment:

  1. Love all of these ideas, particularly connecting Math to the real world. I also found when I made a silly story up to illustrate a concept, some kids would understand and remember it better.

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