Math Teaching Strategies That Add Variety and Motivation to Your Lesson Plans!!

Teachers, when you are considering your math teaching strategies, keep in mind that you will be able to motivate and be more successful if you can include some variety and fun into your strategies.

This applies to all subjects but especially so for math, since math can be a very abstract subject to teach and learn.

Here are several useful teaching strategies that you should consider using.

Elementary Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives are important and very useful educational aids that you should use as part of your math teaching strategies.

From kindergarten math manipulatives all the way to Grade 6 and even higher, math manipulatives will help you explore, discover, calculate, sort and assess. Math manipulatives can be colourful, home-made or purchased, edible, new or used.

Garage and yard sales can be a great way to find some creative manipulatives. The list of possible manipulatives is endless and so should be your creativity. Here are some of my suggestions:


* Geometric Shapes
* Pattern Blocks
* Rainbow Dice and Dominoes
* Ten base blocks (place value)
* Mirras (used for symmetry)


* Certain Cereals (Cheerios, Fruit Loops)
* Pretzels
* Animal Crackers
* Chocolate Bars (Aero, Kit Kat, Cadbury - GREAT for FRACTIONS

Remember to check for food allergies and stay away from candy.

Other useful objects to have on hand

* Buttons
* Sea Shells
* Bingo Coins ($ Store)
* Pennies
* Dry Beans
* Playdo
* Pasta (small ones)
* Decks of Cards (add, subtract, multiply)

In the older grades, students use a compass and protractor for measurement. These can be considered math manipulatives, as well as a ruler, which is also used in the primary grades.

Even consider having your class go outside to look for and collect different math manipulatives, such as pine cones and geometric shapes.

Don't get me wrong - using the math textbook, worksheets and lecturing are all part of teaching math. But ... show your students that math can be exciting, creative and innovative.

Use multiple math teaching strategies that can reach those children who may find math boring or challenging.

And always, always, always keep in mind to set rules on how to distribute and collect these teaching aides and the proper way of using them.

Discipline and control of your class are important keys when teaching a successful, educational and fun math lesson using math manipulatives!

Singapore Math

Teaching math is all about teaching students to think logically. Singapore is and has been one of the leading countries in developing students who excel in math, so "Singapore Math" is a generic term that refers to their method of teaching math.

Singapore math teaches students to think in logical and creative ways rather than rote learning and repetitive drilling.

Make Learning Math Fun

As I said, as part of your math teaching strategies it's important to motivate your students by making learning math fun.

Here are a couple of quick game ideas that I incorporated into my math teaching strategies and have found to be quite successful. My students loved them.

1. Play "Lotto" - like Bingo but ask multiplication questions with the answers on the squares of Bingo like cards that you make and hand out.

2. Math Minute - 30 basic simple arithmetic questions to complete in one minute.

Motivate your students with these math word wall strategies.

As well as these simple math games be sure to check out my page on some of my other classroom math games .

Teach your students how to do math in their heads! Develop math confidence, overcome "math phobia".

Math Journals

One very useful math teaching strategy for both me and my junior grade students was to have them keep a math journal. Students documented what they learned during a math lesson or wrote down the steps they took to solve a particular math problem or math exercise.

By documenting the steps the student became more aware of the process involved in solving problems.

Math journals can be of great assistance to teachers as well, by giving them a better insight into what students may or may not have learned/understood about a math lesson or math concept. The teacher can then take the appropriate action, i.e. further review, etc.

Making Math Meaningful

It can be very helpful for your students to relate math questions and problems to everyday life situations. One idea is to distribute monopoly money and use it to simulate shopping, banking and other daily life scenarios.

For example, using various food flyers, put your students in groups of 4 and give them $100 to spend (great for adding, subtracting and multiplying) OR use them to create word problems.

Discipline and the control of your class are important keys when teaching a successful, educational and fun math lesson or for that matter, any lesson. So don't miss my page on classroom management.

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