Math Engagement Through Active Learning, by Gina Lester, 5th and 6th Grade Math Teacher

Posted by Amy Smythe on 10/24/2018 4:35:00 PM

Math Engagement

It seems every article I read about math in the middle school classroom details the anxiety that accompanies it. I often hear students say, “My parents are bad at math, so I am too” or “Math is my worst subject.” I can completely relate! Math was not my favorite subject in middle school or high school! When I became a math teacher, I vowed to teach it in a different way from how I was taught. I want my students to love coming to my class, enjoy being challenged, and leave feeling confident with their growth. A few ways I differentiate teaching math is by getting the kids moving in the classroom, playing math games, and rotating through math stations.

Moving around the classroom is an easy way I get my students to relax in class. Studies have shown that, regardless of age, movement is the most effective way to maintain focus. Math games are another way I engage students in the math classroom. Math games break up the monotony in solving math problems on a worksheet, while encouraging a competitive atmosphere. It is amazing to watch an old game of Jenga, Candyland, or Jeopardy excite students to solve math problems. Math rotations are also an integral part of my math class. Math rotations are important because it allows me to break down the class into small groups of students to work with individually. I am able to focus my attention on a group that needs extra help, while challenging other students with higher-level assignments.

My class provides challenging opportunities that fosters growth and independent learning. My students learn best while having fun and being actively engaged. Students are never inspired by staring at a teacher working problems on the board or completing worksheets with no interaction. They thrive on active learning.