4 proven ways to make maths fun for young students

Maths. Kids either breeze through it or find it a source of frustration and anger. But it’s such a key life skill that it simply cannot be ignored by teachers. Luckily, when it comes to mathematics, there are plenty of ways to make lessons more enjoyable. Generally speaking, they involve placing the numbers in alternative scenarios, so kids learn to identify that there is a point to maths. Here are some of our favourite ways of making maths fun and relevant.

Detective puzzles

You can find these online by searching for “detective math puzzles” (they’re often American), and there are also apps for phones and tablets too. The basic premise is that children have to solve a mystery, and they do it by solving a series of maths questions.

There might be other puzzles in amongst the maths, for example spot the differences or object finding challenges, but the mystery cannot be solved without the maths. It works because there’s an incentive, and children see the point of solving the questions rather than the questions being isolated.

Introduce shapes, colours and pictures

Seeing reams of black numbers on a white page is hardly inspiring for children. If you’re wondering how to make maths more fun for students, it’s well known that they react better to colours, shapes and pictures. When they’re being introduced to the rudiments of maths, presenting numbers in interesting ways has a lasting effect on them.

TT Rock Stars

Times Table Rock Stars has really caught on in many schools. It has to be set up at school level, but once enrolled, all pupils can create an account and log in at school or at home. The central format is a quickfire times table test, but there’s much more to it than that. They can modify their avatars, and they get promoted through the rock and roll ranks and appear in a league table next to their peers, or even nationwide.

Because kids are against the clock, they learn to quickly recall all the sums up to 12 × 12, and that mental arithmetic helps with all other maths.

Create real-world examples

Fractions are always a stumbling block with kids. It’s often hard to get their heads around them, especially when it comes to adding, multiplying, subtracting and dividing them. But nature has provided humanity with the perfect fraction tools – pizza and cakes.

They slice up into quarters, sixths, eighths and even odd numbers if you’re brave, and can be used to teach all about adding and subtracting, and even top-heavy fractions (or should that be topping heavy?). And then, of course, comes the best bit – eating the maths lesson!

Rewarding achievement

Whatever methods you choose to help them with their maths, don’t forget the benefits of a worthwhile classroom rewards system. Collecting tokens not only measures achievement, but also lets them visibly see their progress, whether it’s done on an individual or group basis. There are plenty of token systems to choose from – find the one that suits your class. It all adds up.

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