How To Build A Better Maths Lesson

Math Teacher Resources: Lesson Plans, Games & More
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Other names for these included 'righty-tighty' and 'lefty-loosey'!

5 Ways to Make Learning Math Fun

The reflections were given names like 'mirror-mirror'. Armed with a collection of rotations and reflections, pupils got into dance troupes of four and created their own routines that took them from the starting position known as the identity in proper maths speak , through a rather complex sequence of moves, and finally back to the start. We then analysed the routines and worked out why the sequence of moves took us back to the start using inverses.

As an added bonus, I even got the teacher and deputy head who were observing my lesson to accompany on the xylophone and bongo drums. We've done this activity with our new intake on transition days for the past two years and it's been superb.

Related Resources

The students work in teams and start by making their version of a paper plane. During the lesson they are introduced to more unconventional designs and then go on to build their choice. The teams then compete with each other based on which flies the farthest and they use the information from their flights to try to calculate its speed. It really is a great fun lesson and can be as structured or as freefall as you want it to be. I always win though, as I screw the paper up and throw it as a ball for the finale.

Manipulatives

Find full details of this activity in the Guardian Teacher Network resource bank: Paper planes — practical maths lesson. You may also be interested in the other type of practical maths that I use, topics that will be genuinely useful to them in their lives, but more importantly, things that they can relate to, and unsurprisingly these type of topics usually involve money or mobile phones.

I have found the Personal Finance Education Group is invaluable for ideas — some of which I'll be using in tutor time, with my year 13s looking at the practicalities of money management as they go off into the big bad world so as a conversation starter I've put together this Always true, Sometimes true and Never true card that will trigger off all sorts of discussions about credit and money in general.

One of my favourite activities is to use spaghetti to introduce trigonometric graphs. The aim is for students to understand the origin and characteristics of the graphs of sin x and cos x. All students need to do spaghetti trigonometry is: a blank unit circle and trig graph, a glue stick, a protractor, a small pile of spaghetti noodles.

First ask students to label the unit circle axis -1 and 1's and the trig graph x-axis 0 degrees to degrees. Now students use a piece of spaghetti to mark the unit distance from the origin at 15 degrees to the x-axis. They can stick it down and label the angle. Now they can take another piece of spaghetti and measure the y-coordinate sin x of the point on the circle.

Six creative ideas for practical maths lessons

They can transfer this piece to lie on the trig graph vertically above the 15 degree mark. Repeat at 15 degree intervals all the way around the shape.

When they have finished, they can draw a line going over the top of all their spaghetti sticks to show the graph. Finished all the way to degrees? Try the same again but this time measure the x-coordinate cos x of each point on the unit circle with a blank trig axis. This activity is really good for students to make predictions about how they think the graph will continue past 15 degrees, at the start of the lesson.

Top 10 Strategies to Improve Your Math Grades

Students always ask me for more lessons like this, so do give it a try. More detailed info on my website. Perimeter can be a tricky concept for students to grasp. I tried putting students in the role of designers for 'Aqua', a high end swimming pool designer. I gave them a letter from Jay-Z and Beyonce asking for the most bling swimming pool possible, paved in gold so Jay-Z could exercise their dog around it while Beyonce swam.

Students designed a swimming pool and measured the perimeter for the gold, which they then calculated the cost of plus their design time, plus a profit margin and wrote a quote back to the happy couple.

Principle 4: Living and Loving Math

Interpretations of the equal sign among elementary school children. Your article has just inspired me to dig out some Lego to use to create a graphic score! Sort by. Gordon, A. In general, the researchers found that teachers.

You don't really need anything other than paper and a fake letter from Beyonce to the class to do this exercise. I also included a slide of extravagant pools. After this activity I found the silliness of the task made it easier to refer back to the gold path as a hook for perimeter.

Can be done with loads of other things; from fencing round a farm to a security guard doing his rounds of a building to the framing of a picture. This is my first year of teaching after a long career as an accountant, so I'm really into real-world maths. Teachers who work with elementary school students should provide fun counting materials, such as small cereal, fruit snacks or colored beads.

Many students are visual learners, and having tangible items to work with will help get a better understanding for mathematical concepts being taught.

Make sure students know how math applies to everyday life. Come up with story problems that show them how math can be used in situations they are interested in. Use sports, dance and video games as a way to draw students in to the math learning and application process. Show students how different careers utilize math. A calculus teacher, for example, can show students how doctors and veterinarians use calculus on a daily basis. Students who are interested in writing and English will learn that journalists need a good working background in math, and teachers can show them how important percentages are to that career.

Showing students how math is used in their desired field can encourage them to focus on assignments and retain the math concepts. Teachers who utilize these tips will find that their students do better when it comes to testing time because they enjoyed learning the topic.