nav-left cat-right

Teachers Taking Time for Math Games

As an elementary school teacher, you probably feel like you don’t have enough time to teach all of your content within the course of a school year. Why on earth would you ever want to add more material in the form of math games when you can’t seem to finish your assigned math textbook? Turns out that making time to incorporate math games in your classroom can lead to rich results.

One of the most immediate benefits of using math games is increasing student engagement. Games are engaging and maintain interest. Dittos or workbook pages rarely are. Teaching methods that stress rote memorization of basic number facts or algorithmic procedures are usually boring and do not require learners to participate actively in thought and reflection. Research has demonstrated that students learn more if they are actively engaged with the math they are studying.

Contrast this with the reaction that many students have toward the textbook: either a lack of interest or an assumption that the assigned math/problems will be too difficult.

Incorporating math games also allows you to differentiate instruction. Using math games which better match students’ abilities can help them build content knowledge and interact more successfully with the required text.

Because math games require active involvement, use concrete objects and manipulatives, and are hands-on, they are ideal for all learners, particulary English language learners. Games provide opportunities for children to work in small groups, practice teamwork, cooperation, and effective communication. Children learn from each other as they talk, share, and reflect throughout game times. Language acquisition is meaningful and understandable.

Your state’s mathematics standards are intended as a statement of what students should learn, or what they should have accomplished, at particular stages of their schooling. The goal of every state’s math standards is to engage students in meaningful mathematical problem-solving experiences, build math knowledge and skills, increase students’ ability to communicate mathematically, and increase their desire to learn mathematics. Those are the goals for math games, too!

Specific content knowledge will vary according to the game students play and the connection to school-day learning and the state standards. A major goal for students in the elementary grades is to develop an understanding of the properties of and the relationships among numbers. One of the very effective ways teachers can reinforce the development and practice of number concepts, logical reasoning, and mathematical communication is by using math games. They are great for targeted practice on whatever standard the children need to meet.

You will meet significantly more of your state’s grade- level mathematics standards by having your children play a game than will have been met by having them complete a ditto or a workbook page.

No matter which textbook your district uses, games can easily be incorporated into instruction. Some textbook companies are “seeing the light” and have begun to implement games as a part of each unit.

Even if your textbook does not incorporate games, identify a skills need almost all your students have, and give a game a try. I guarantee it will be more of a learning experience for the students and more informative to you of what your students know and can do than a workbook page.

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.