Math is SO much fun!
Much like Mary Poppins makes cleaning a snap, making something dreaded into a fun game can breathe new life into even the lowliest of chores. While I haven’t made everything fun, math has always been an easy one.
First, I confess: I love math.
Love? Yes. LOVE math ❤. Why? Personally, I love math because there is always an exact answer. The questions may be difficult to discern, but the formulas, the calculations, they always lead to an exact answer (maybe not theorists, but for math through high school and much of non-mathematician college, there is always an exact answer).
What’s not to love about knowing that you can get the correct answer every time? It’s brilliant! If you have the tools, you can arrive at the correct destination. There is a pleasure in knowing the destination is there. The goal is close at hand. The answer is within reach. With some practice and purpose, mathematics is an obtainable goal for people. Given enough time, practice, and encouragement.
- Chocolate Chips (any small food encouragement, we’ve used M&M’s, Skittles, jellybeans, but by far, I always have chocolate chips and they’re always warmly received!)
- A clear plan with an objective (perfect since math has exact answers!).
Enter: Multiplication in a Flash
As I’m finishing our multiplication tables practice for my younger son, we have a fun game we play once a week or so for review: We have a weekly practice in which we take turns answering questions and there is equal opportunity to get an equal number of chocolate chips. The sillier, the better. I toss them the chocolate chips, or roll them across the table, but the key is to make it light and fun — and we practice for speed which adds an element of urgency. The urgency to get the question correct coupled with the urgency to get the question answered quickly — we’re all usually yelling and cheering by the end.
This has worked for years with our math practice. When practicing numbers, addition, subtraction, division, fractions, decimals…any math that can be tested can be rewarded. When we work out long division, practicing proofs – it’s all fun to do with a little chocolate encouragement. Especially since we usually do our weekly practice at the end of our teaching time, it’s a great way to segue into outdoor play, lunch, etc.
Math + Chocolate = FUN
I’m working on utilizing the practice of fun into all of our learning, but I’ve consistently had luck working it into our mathematics practice. It’s a necessity to learn and my joy in the subject has become their joy in the subject. What could be better?
“It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how,” Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
What have you made fun today?
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