Friday, 23 October 2015

Teaching Mathematics through Games


Mathematics is one of those subjects that can be taught in an exciting way using the child's natural sense of fun to drive home concepts and facts. The teacher with imagination can make the task of learning numbers easier and more welcoming by using games.

Arranging the room to leave a large open space will provide room for playing math games. This may be accomplished by moving desks so that they form a large open rectangle instead of the more traditional rows. This also has the advantage of making each child instantly visible to the teacher who can more easily monitor activity and see when a student is struggling.Using colourful objects such as lanyards can help young students learn about numbers more easily.Many children are visual learners, so bright colours attract and hold their attention. This will also benefit learners who are kinaesthetically inclined. Games require a variety of problem-solving skills, such as making and testing hypotheses, creating strategies (thinking and planning ahead), and organizing information.   Moreover, as children play, they further their development of hand-eye coordination, concentration levels, visual discrimination, memory, and their ability to communicate and use mathematical language. To build a solid foundation in Math understanding, follow up engagements in the form of worksheets may also be done.

Games can provide an atmosphere where children are encouraged to:

*Share their ideas with others – think, discuss, and explain

*Be alert, interested, curious, and challenged

*Come up with interesting ideas, problems, and questions

*Have confidence in their abilities to figure out things for themselves

*Speak their minds with confidence

*Work cooperatively

*Give and take praise and criticism

*Instruct others

*Accept success and failure in the presence of peers and adults

*Develop initiative, interest, curiosity, resourcefulness, independence, and responsibility.

One of the most useful outcomes of playing math games with children is that they provide some immediate assessment to teacher, parent, and child.  The game format allows you to observe and evaluate the thinking and problem-solving strategies children are using.

Games teach or reinforce many of the skills that a formal curriculum teaches, plus a skill that formal learning sometimes, mistakenly, leaves out – the skill of having fun with math, of thinking hard and enjoying it.

Rupa Chauhan

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