Teaching Kids to Love Math
It’s no secret that Math is the one subject that gives the most trouble to students of all grades and all over the world. The reasons why students hate math are manifold. We will examine some of these “ I hate Math” reasons below. All is not lost, however. This post will provide possible solutions to make students love math. We will present here just a few math teaching strategies and fun math activities that might work in getting a child to appreciate the beauty of math and rekindle their love for Math.
“I hate Math”… But Why?
Almost all students who visit us for mathhelp seem to have said at least once that they hate math, or they find math almost “scary”, “tough” and too “difficult to understand”. Upon hearing their ‘why I hate math’ story, in majority of the cases it seems that parents and teachers conspire to make mathematics ‘scary’, ‘tough’, ‘difficult to understand’ for these poor innocent kids. However, even the parents and teachers or in fact local math tutors are not doing it deliberately. Often, they are just not being careful enough with the way they are teaching a beautiful, logical yet delicate subject like Math.
Furthermore, math still carries with it the stigma of being a deadly dull discipline, which creates a mental block in students leaving them with no motivation to learn math in a correct way. This renders them oblivious to the benefits of studying math or everyday math use. This lack of appreciation and motivation to learn maths then snowballs into a hatred for maths as the subject becomes increasingly advanced.
Why is Math Important
It’s easy to say that studying math can help develop logical thinking or that all scientific disciplines have mathematics as their basis. Children, however, first need to understand the everyday math uses. Parents and math teachers need to point out indispensability of math in everyday life. Also studying math develops logical thinking and scientific pursuit. These are the topic that parents and teachers are advised to address. It’s not enough to say that it’s easier to find a well-paid job if one possesses above-average knowledge of mathematics. The trick is to help the child connect with and appreciate the importance of math on a personal level.
How to Make Kids Say “I love Math”
Mathematics is not the exclusive realm of the genius. While there are those born with an extraordinary talent for math, those who have to work harder to get to the same level should not be discouraged from doing so. Constant work pays off, and kids should understand this as early as possible. As we’ve seen, however, it is the inevitability of having to work hard that puts off a lot of children from studying math in the first place. The crucial thing, then, is to demonstrate that hard work can be made interesting. Below are some ways for having math fun.
It helps if children can identify with mathematician and scientists, too. The identification is that much easier if some kind of link is made between everyday math use that hold their interest and the mathematics behind those objects. Parents and teachers can make them understand, for example, that math counting techniques, mathematical data collections, computations, algorithms, calendar and astronomical techniques, profit and loss, and anything and everything they see around themselves has math hidden in it. Students will then be able to appreciate the importance of the mathematics connection themselves.
What can Parents do to Make Math Fun?
Early immersion in the subject can help. A child who feels comfortable with math at an early age will have fewer math problems and no mathematics anxiety. Here a parent must be careful, though. It’s a fine line between creating a math-friendly environment and simply forcing the subject on a child.
Similarly, while devising a system of tasks and rewards for a child who successfully completes math problems is a good strategy; a parent should not place undue importance on the reward itself. This tends to obscure the math fun aspects and simply enforces rote learning, as well as the pleasure derived from the process of problem solving.
Finally, it’s always good for a child to understand and observe everyday math aspects of our lives. For example, a child will master simple math operations more quickly if they are demonstrated using real life objects. Take them out in the garden and point out to symmetries in nature or examples of Fibonacci series. Demonstrate the geometry of shapes, curves and patterns in wonderful designs and architectures in your outings.
Math Teaching Strategies for Classroom
The goal of a math teacher should be to teach how to learn math for students rather than how to study math by mugging up equations and solving complex problems. Making each stage in the learning process engaging and purposeful can help, but it may not always be possible. The least any teacher can do, however, is explain why even a dull lesson in math will prove to be useful in real life.
It helps to remember, as well, that it is not always the promise of material gain that acts as the biggest incentive for a student. In her article about the so called sense-of-purpose teaching methods, Ingfei Chen notes that the idea that studying hard can help a student achieve a higher purpose in life often acts as a stronger motivating force than the possibility of finding a job that pays well.
Of course, teachers should also embrace the web tools available, such as one which explained Mathematics for Primary Teachers, online math tools such as calculators, graph makers, online math games, fun math activities, math projects and various interactive math help websites. Using the internet, which is the natural environment of the young, can help bring the subject closer to them.
The road to making learning math a welcoming environment for a child may be long, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make math fun and interesting. If you’re a parent, familiarize yourself with the math curriculum of the school your child is attending. If you’re a teacher, explore interactive instructional strategies for math teaching. Continue immersing the children in the world of math in everyday life as well as in world marvels and technology geniuses. Parents and teachers should work together to deliver the ‘math is fun’ experience for kids.
As children begin to understand the importance of mathematics and everyday math pervasiveness, they will realize how fascinating math can be. This will ultimately lead them on the road to mastering math skills. Just remember, never scare them away from it and avoid boredom as much as possible.
Do share with us other ways to make math interesting and fun to study!
Yes absolutely James! Math is definitely at the core of everything there is. From Math in nature to Math in architecture, math in astronomy and math behind every cool toy and gadget or appliance in our life. It’s just that we need to make our kids appreciate the real world applications of Mathematics and help them appreciate this beautiful subject like Math.
Thank you Derek! We hope you can take away few effective instructional strategies for teaching Math in a fun and interesting way.
LOL. Guess she was right. Understanding Math makes it so much easier as compared to simply learning rote dry formula and solving equations. Students must be taught Maths in an application based manner to make them appreciate the beauty of mathematics.
I agree Gabriella! Most of us have been taught to rote learn Math without understanding it the correct way. However, we can hopefully change that way with our own kids and make them understand Math in a more effective and fun way.
Thank you for reading Emma.
Hopefully this article will help many parents and teachers to learn correct and effective instructional strategies for Math teaching. We definitely need to make students feel more connected to Math. This will lessen the Math anxiety in them.
yes Mathews We agree ! knowing Math can help people be faster and more efficient in their overall problem solving skills.
Math can help kids solve their problems more efficiently, well, some of them 🙂
For decades, Math has been represented and taught like a ”tough” discipline, but it’s never too late for a new start. Once parents and teachers learn how to present it in a simple way to their kids and students, the love can start spreading. It’s all about the presentation to a ”green” mind.
I hated math while I was growing up. I must remember this, I will need it when my girl grows up.
My high-school teacher told me you had to love math if you want to understand it and then a whole new world would be revealed to you. I never did.
I’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind. This is a constant struggle… I mean a struggle to help your kids and make them interested in math.
This is an extremely important topic. We need to make children understand that math is at the core of pretty much everything. Great article!