Math Resources: Games, Tips, and Tricks

From elementary and middle school to high school and beyond, teaching mathematics may be challenging at times. Connecting with students is of the greatest importance and there are many resources available that empower teachers when make those necessary connections. Whether using mathematics games to create a fun, friendly learning environment, or seeking resources that expand mathematical concepts, there are many tips, tricks, and resources available to help. Motivating students to learn is one of the most challenging tasks teachers face, but once accomplished, the rewards are endless. Motivated students are more apt to participate in class, complete homework and other assignments, and often come to appreciate the lifelong value of math. By using various resources and teaching methods, instructors can make certain they are provided with the tools needed to instill a lifelong appreciation of math in their students.

Elementary

Elementary students may have difficulty learning various math concepts. Many educators have discovered that introducing more challenging problems and concepts using games often has great results. When children relax and are in a stress-free atmosphere, such as occurs when playing games, they are more receptive to learning. Some concepts taught during the elementary years include numbers and counting, arithmetic, decimals, fractions, graphs, money, and time. By using games to teach these concepts, children that are struggling or becoming apprehensive regarding math may learn in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.


Middle School

Middle school math is often the transition between elementary and high school math. Courses, such as pre-algebra, take students from basic arithmetic to preparation for the advanced mathematic concepts found in algebra. Students study subjects more in-depth during this period, yet the goal is always to prepare them for high school subjects. Pre-calculus topics, geometry, graphing, measurement, and probability and statistics are often taught during middle school. Similar to elementary topics, many students respond well to learning in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. The use of appropriate math games often sees demonstrable results and improvement in students’ understanding of various math concepts.


High School

High school math can be challenging at times for both students and instructors. Middle school is spent introducing students to advanced subjects such as data and statistics, algebra, calculus, and geometry as the student will explore these subjects in-depth throughout the high school years. Students may have been introduced to calculators in elementary and middle school, but calculators are often used for solving advanced problems in high school. During the high school years, math concepts include other fields, such as science and computers. The use of applets, games, interactive programs, and innovative teaching strategies can revitalize efforts and help students grasp advanced mathematical concepts and topics.


Success in Math

It is not uncommon for students who excel in math to think about different career paths that integrate the subject. Some students in the early years argue that math is not used in real life, but this could not be further from the truth. Many careers are based upon math and use advanced skills in a practical way. Some careers that utilize math concepts include accounting, statisticians, engineering, computer programming, surveying, actuaries, cost estimators, finance, cryptography, and math teaching.


Games

Teaching with math games is one of the most effective way educators can reduce the stress and anxiety some students develop regarding the subject. Games may be applied from simple elementary level math facts to more advanced and complex math topics. Logic and reasoning is an area of mathematics that is greatly developed through the use of games, as is strategy. As math scores play a determining role in graduation scores for all grades, developing important concepts with games is highly valuable. Games may be used to introduce new topics or to reinforce concepts through study. Teachers may adapt game levels as needed.