Making Math Fun Again

With school closures across the country, many parents are looking for activities that they can do with their children to keep the instruction going. At home parents may experience additional challenges. When your children don’t see you in the role of “teacher” it can be hard to take this newly imposed “homeschooling” seriously. So what can you do? Bring back family game night, or family game day! You can view my webinar entitled “Building Success Foundations of Mathematics at Home” to learn more about this and other ways to support your children’s math learning. https://mrschurch.net/2019/09/24/building-successful-foundations-of-mathematics-at-home-parent-webinar/

There is much research to support the use of game-based learning both in the classroom AND at home. We know keeping children (especially elementary aged children) engaged in the classroom and at home can be a challenge. Math games provide challenge and skill practice in a highly engaging format that makes them WANT to learn and participate. In a blog post published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) by author Kitty Rutherford, who serves as the North Carolina Elementary Mathematics Consultant for the Department of Public Instruction in Raleigh, Kitty points out that:

“Games are an important tool for learning in elementary school mathematics classrooms:

•     Playing games encourages strategic mathematical thinking as students find different strategies for solving problems and deepen their understanding of numbers.

•     When played repeatedly, games support students’ development of computational fluency.

•     Games present opportunities for practice, often without the need for teachers to provide the problems. Teachers can then observe or assess students and work with individuals or small groups of students.

•     Games have the potential to allow students to develop familiarity with the number system and with “benchmark numbers” (such as 10s, 100s, and 1000s) and engage in computation practice, building a deeper understanding of operations.

•     Games support a school-to-home connection. Parents can learn about their children’s mathematical thinking by playing games with them at home.”

The full post with games can be viewed here: https://www.nctm.org/publications/teaching-children-mathematics/blog/why-play-math-games_/

In addition to the old school games (mentioned in my webinar above) like Battle Ship, Trouble, Monopoly, Uno and Dominoes, there are tons of games available for you to print from online. Today with my own 3rd grader and 5th grader we reviewed our multiplication facts in a super engaging way with the game Knock It Off! I got my version from Dots N’ Spots http://www.dots-n-spots.com/math-on-my-mind/. Based on their facial expressions I think you can tell who was winning! :-)

This particular game requires 12 sided dice which can be a challenge to find. So here are some quick links: Hand 2 Mind via Amazon and Really Good Stuff https://www.reallygoodstuff.com/12-sided-dice-6-pack/p/705843/.

If you are going to go through the trouble of ordering 12 sided dice, you may want to be able to use them for other games, right? This blog had some great ideas, especially for higher level math for those of you with intermediate and secondary aged children. https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/math-dice-games/

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