Teaching Math: 5 Fun Engaging Plans You Can Use

5 Fun Plans You Can Use To Prep For Teaching Math

Advancing a group of students toward math readiness can be a daunting goal. Long school years, having to cater to a wide spectrum of learning styles and abilities, with standardized testing, and more, all make this a difficult task. For teachers preparing their students to advance to the next level of their educational pathway, these realities need to be surmounted. Here are a few strategies, tips, and tools to help make that process easier and more engaging for both teachers and students and bring math to life in refreshing ways.

1. Utilize Online Tools And Resources

A wealth of online math tools exist today. These can provide helpful teaching aids and alternative instruments for helping students to learn, practice, and retain math concepts. Many of these tools are free or inexpensive, and even the ones that cost will often allow at least introductory or limited access for free.

Online tools come in a few different categories. Some online tools provide virtual calculators, unit converters, formula generators, quadratic solvers, and subject-specific aids like graphing calculators or geometry tools. Others are made up of curriculum and video lessons, providing auxiliary content your students can utilize if they need additional help understanding a concept or subject. Some other online resources include quizzing apps that can be useful study aids. Still others generate assessments and practice quizzes to practice specific skills or prepare for tests. Finally, virtual tutoring connections or peer-to-peer help can also be found through online services, that can help students who need more support through tele-learning portals.

2. Borrow Tactics From Other Subjects

Teaching math doesn’t limit you from effectively incorporating teaching strategies or devices from other subjects or study areas. One example of this could be utilizing the practice of debate. Debate creates a structure within which students are required to understand the complexities of a topic or skill in order to engage effectively on that topic and communicate a position.

Setting up a mock “debate” between students over various topics or subsections of your math curriculum could be an innovative tool. It would allow you to incorporate unique scenarios into your classroom, engage your students in different ways, introduce alternative ways of thinking about the subject matter, and harness learning styles that don’t always get utilized. This tactic could also be applied through assigning speeches on math topics, having a spelling bee, incorporating musical or creative assignments, and more.

3. Peer-To-Peer Teaching

Sometimes being taught by a peer can help information click faster than hearing it taught from the front of the classroom. Harnessing the power of one-on-one teaching, coupled with helping your students take on positions of mentorship and leadership through teaching one of their peers a new skill, can be a powerful way of diversifying the learning experience for all your students. It also strengthens auxiliary skills like communication and collaboration that will be useful both inside and outside the math classroom.

Peer-to-peer teaching could be facilitated by assigning one half of your class one section of a topic and assigning the other section the remaining half, and then pairing students from each side together for a period of time. Each student must share the content they were responsible for learning with the other. You could also pair students up once a week for peer-to-peer homework help, or to take the first crack at understanding the next new topic. Alternatively, you could give willing students the opportunity to prepare a short lesson on an upcoming topic to deliver to the class.

4. Goal Setting

Setting goals can be a hugely motivating tool for your students. Goal implementation can take countless forms. Curriculum and standardized testing requirements often include defined goals and metrics you could utilize for your class. If you already have a process for utilizing goals as a part of your lesson planning and classroom evaluation, sometimes simply making those goals visible for your students can be a motivating step to help them see their progress more tangibly as the year goes on.

But goal setting doesn’t have to stop there. This strategy can sometimes be most effective and motivating when you allow your students to set goals for themselves. These goals could be individual and personalized for each student, or they could be a communal set of goals that the class generates together. Don’t be afraid to allow lots of room for creativity. Students may not always come up with the goals most relevant to the subject matter at hand, or goals that you think might be necessarily effective or helpful. But as long as the goals they’d like to set for themselves wouldn’t detract from their learning process, sometimes just having a goal seems in place—even if it frivolous or doesn’t touch on integral parts of the learning process—can provide students with ownership and naturally motivate them to be more engaged.

5. Competitions

Many students thrive on competitive spirit and drive. Incorporating competition into your lesson planning can be an incredibly effective method for helping your students to engage with the material in a way that is much more likely to be fun and enjoyable. Though competitions don’t always provide the most studious or conducive atmosphere for learning new concepts, they can provide a unique environment to help students cognitively process older material in different ways. This can help facilitate deeper learning, longer retention, and better application skills. Competitions can take the form of jeopardy games, relay races, scavenger hunts, team challenges, and more. The possibilities of this strategy are only limited by your interest and creativity.

Incorporating creative strategies and variety in your lesson planning can help reinvigorate students, refresh their capacity for taking in new information, and provide effective ways of engaging with your subject matter. This can help your students develop a deeper understanding of the material and better prepare them for entering future math studies.

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