Totally Math!
June and July, 2006

Your students will catch "math fever" this coming year with these exciting hands-on activities. You'll learn how to sing math, move math, eat math, and make math more meaningful and FUN! You'll also find patterns for simple games and visuals you can make, as well as suggestions for setting up a math center. As always, thanks to teachers everywhere who have shared many of the great ideas you'll find on my website. And where would I be without my "Web Man" Alex May and "Book Maker" Sandy Elsasser!

The phrase "children learn by doing" is particularly true with math. Children don't think abstractly, so they need multiple experiences with hands-on materials to construct concepts about numbers and the world around them. Open your eyes to daily opportunities for learning math as you read stories, play games, cook, and talk informally. Stretch children's vocabulary and thinking skills with questions like: "How did you know that?" or "How can you find out?"

Consider these principles of learning as you plan math activities for your students:

  1. Children's brains like rich experiences, novelty, and challenges.  If it's not fun, why do it?
  2. The more senses you stimulate, the more likely the message will get to the brain.  Children need to see math, hear math, talk math, eat math, move math, sing math, and feel math.
  3. Learning always proceeds from concrete to abstract.  Children need many experiences with hands-on objects before they move to the symbolic stage and abstract thinking.
  4. Increase the level of difficulty from simple to complex to provide for a large range of learners. 
  5. Give children the opportunity to repeat experiences over and over and over again.  But, remember, they need frequent feedback to insure they are learning what you want them to remember.
  6. Sing and move math every chance you get.
  7. Make math meaningful by relating it to real life experiences, such as cooking, sports, science, etc.
  8. Integrate reading and writing with math activities.
  9. Adapt these ideas to the interest and ability of your students, as well as the skills you are working on.
  10. Above all, make math FUN and help each child feel successful!

Math is Fun!
By Dr. Holly


Math, math is so much fun,
So much fun for everyone!
Math! Yea, math!
Numbers, symbols, shapes and signs
We use math all the time!
Yea, math!

Numbers, numbers, I see numbers everywhere I look—
Price tags, speed limits, calendars, and books.
How much money have you saved, how many kids at school?
Now add them all together…
And you’ll get numbers, numbers—math is so cool!

Shapes, shapes I see shapes everywhere I look.
A rectangle’s a window or a door or a book.
Do you see a triangle, a circle, or a square?
An oval or a pentagon?
So many shapes, shapes—math is everywhere!

How long does a school day last, how many in a pair?
How many miles you traveled to get from here to there;
What day is your birthday on, how old are all your friends;
Now add them all together…
And you’ll get math, math!  It never ends!

Share the JOY of learning with your children as you facilitate positive experiences that will influence lifelong attitudes about mathematics.