During my twenty years of teaching, I’ve found a very constant rule for teaching. The rule is: “There is no constant rule for teaching.”
Every student has some unique specialty and peculiarity, whatever subtle or easy-to-understand aspect it may be, that necessitates different methods and techniques to make him or her understand any lesson.
Mathematics, a subject of fear and logic, has been a mystery to so many of my students, and I had the hardest time making them understand some easy mathematical terms like LCM or tangent ratio.
This has led me to use some essential mathematical instruments that I have found really useful. Here are the tools:
In the old days, calculators were only used for basic mathematical calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square or cube roots using a handful of functions.
But things have largely changed, and now calculators come with a wide variety of performance. Some of them even show you the graph of an equation. Click here for some information on such graphing calculators.
Teachers who look upon teaching math as tools for solving problems would find such calculators an easy friend.
Decks of Cards
This simple thing is very useful when you teach students probability. Besides, card games also have some other benefits.
First, they are cheap and can be provided any time.
Secondly, they are timeless and portable.
And, lastly, they can be played in any type of groups, even family members. Simple card games (‘War’, for example) help a student develop the ability to calculate and predict logically, and that is one of the core ideas of keeping deck of cards.
You might visit this site for a better concept.
You can make your math teaching fun with just a roll of the dice. For the students to learn the power and flexibility of numbers the game, Math Dice, is gradually getting more and more popular.
To play the game, you roll 2 twelve-sided dice and multiply the numbers to get a target number. Now, you roll 3 six-sided dice and get a scoring number. By adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing the numbers, you try to get an answer that is as close to the target number as possible.
The condition is that you have only one chance to try the 3 six-sided dice, and the flexibility is that you can even use the squared or cubed value of the numbers.
Proved to be suitable for 5th through 6th grade students, this game helps them grow attraction to mathematics and use it for fun.
Number strings consist of a series of related problems that highlight a particular mental math strategy or big idea.
Each problem in a particular string is written horizontally and is completed once at a time; students mentally work out a solution to the problem and share their method to the class.
Researchers have identified number strings as a discussion routine that could help teachers focus less on teaching as telling and more on exploring the mathematics and facilitating conversation about students’ solution and reasonings behind it.
For example, students might first see 3X4, then 3X8, then 6×8, followed by 6×16. The underlying strategy here is doubling, although students might also use other mental calculations that might logically explain the progression. Whatever is mathematically right is the acceptable answer.
Scissors and rulers
Cut shapes and figures out of papers, and your math lecture reduces to less than 50%.
Here’s the advantage of scissors and rulers. To be able to introduce Polygon puzzles, circle patterns, diagonals, and quadrilaterals with the help of simple tools results in great success in restoring the concentration and participation of the disinterested and distracted kids.
Compass and Protractor
For more than some thousand years, these age-old tools have been used to teach and understand the basic geometrical problems and clarify conceptions.
What else on earth would a student do to measure a given angle if he doesn’t use a protractor? How on earth would he draw a perfect circle of given radius without using a compass?
Sometimes they do a lot more than just drawing and measuring geometrical figures.
Not only golf balls but any small perfectly round shaped and bouncy balls can be of great help while giving your older students concepts on inclined surface, bounce effects, and elements that influence gravitational force.
There are really attractive transparent and semi-transparent colorful beads that can be used for counting, as markers, and other little kids’ mathematical interests.
Along with scales to be used for small scale shapes drawn on papers or white boards, long measuring tapes are useful for demonstration of mathematics in real life.
Students get really interested when I employ them testing Pythagorean theorem out on their playground or measure the height of the goal post from a given distance using trigonometric theory.
There are some excellent math tools for kids if you visit this site.
Software on My Laptop and Apps on my Smartphone
Last but not least, there are some excellent softwares and apps that make the entire mathematical process a game for children.
You write the equation on the panel, and every step to finding the value of x and y or the parabola, perfectly drawn and placed on a virtual graph paper, is generated.
Needless to say, the solved steps of the problem or the result parabola are just a matter of click to be printed. Major features of the math softwares are:
● Thousands of inbuilt functions
● Different types of computation algorithms
● 2-D and 3-D plotting
Two of them, that I must name, are magically helpful: one is ‘Microsoft Mathematics’ and the other is ‘Maple’. Both are very powerful math engines and are incredibly easy to use.
You can try other apps and softwares from here.
Living in a high-tech world of information technology, you just cannot overlook the newly invented and widely tested ways to teach your students.
After all, the visual and practical demonstration of mathematical calculations that learners around the globe have feared will surely boost your performance and result of teaching.
What’s more, the world around us is full of examples of hundreds of mathematical experiments and observations. All we need is to find out how to utilize them to introduce our tender kids to the world of mathematics.