Monday, January 26, 2015

10 Reasons to Put PLAY Back into Math




Math that really sticks, is math done through play! When kids play, their brain is activated by the excitement of the activity, not fear of an unknown concept. What's the best way to beat math-phobia? The answer is PLAY! Classroom and online games might be just what your kids need!

Why use play in the math classroom?

1.  "Playful math is to numbers what poetry is to words, music is to sounds, and art is to visual perception." Mathematicians play with math, so do 4 year olds. Losing that playful outlook on math is where the problems begin. Using a playful approach to math encourages out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving.

2.   Games provide unlimited practice. To achieve math mastery takes lots and lots of practice. If that practice is dull, minds wonder and practice ends up being wasted time. Games make kids focus because they have to in order to play the game. It gives a purpose to practice!

3.  Games promote math talk. If playing the game with a partner, students must discuss how to get the right answer, and rethink together when the answer is incorrect.

4. Since there is a natural desire to win, students can easily be lead to achieve above what they are normally expected to achieve. 

5.  Games don't define how a problem must be solved. Students are set loose to find their own ways of discovering the answer….they find their own meaning!

6.  While kids play math games, this gives teachers the perfect time to observe an assess. Kids rarely notice!

7. Playing classroom math games encourages cooperative learning. Math isn't the only thing kids will learn in math class, they'll also learn how to be a team play, problem-solve, and be a good winner or loser.

8. Games are the perfect differentiation tool.  Visual learners see pictures, kenesthetic learners are active with movement (throwing dice), auditory kids love the communication involved, and the kids who love to write can be the note-taker or record the answers.

9. It's hard to develop strategic thinking unless you do activities that make kids use strategic thinking. Gamres are perfect for this. Losing says to kids that there is a better way, what is it? This also promotes metacognition. Kids have to think about their thinking to figure out how to win.

10. If you want to motivate kids, just tell them that the next day in math will be game day. They'll come in with big smiles eager to start. That includes that little math-phobic kid in the corner. A few sessions with fun math games will draw him out and into the fun. 


Some great classroom games include:

It's amazing the concepts kids can learn from a couple of dice!

20 engaging, skill-building math games for Kids: https://www.prodigygame.com/blog/classroom-math-games-for-kids/




Great Online Games

This terrific site called Math Game Time has great math games (as well as other subjects) by grade level. Don't be afraid to check out games on the grades above your own, there are many at each level that can be used by lower grades. GREAT for differentiation. Best part....there are lots of teacher videos on how to teach different concepts in the curriculum at the bottom of the page of each grade level.  This game is called "Meteor Multiplication". It's perfect for third and fourth grade practice!

This site from Funbrain is a math arcade that is more than fun. Students select their ability level, so it easily goes from second grade to fifth grade practice. 

If you teach upper elementary don't miss Multiplication.com. There are LOTs of good (and fun) games to practice those multiplication facts. Check out the menu bar for addition, subtraction, and division games. There is so much good stuff on this site there isn't room to list it all! This game is called "Pirates II"


Don't miss this site FILLED with math games and activities for second grade in most of the math strands! It includes more than 100 links. Best part…it is categorized with pictures under each strand! This game is called, "Life Guards". 


This great center/computer game gives kids a fun way to practice subtration facts! To get the correct answer the students use the bee's stinget to pop the correct number of balloons to give the answer. Adorable and so, so educational!

This site from math playground is FULL of games for all levels. I love this one about area and perimeter!  Don't miss the game on Tangrams!!



Hope you kids learn lots with these games, and have fun doing it!



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