Fun means different things to different people. Making math more fun (or any other subject), happens when a variety of different activities are incorporated directly into daily lessons. Making learning extra fun happens when the teacher has fun in their teaching. Making a class fun does not mean make one day a special fun day. Children do not need a whole lot to create fun, something adults often forget with the mounds of toys and activities we provide for them.
Fun can be music. Use a favorite tune to sing the multiplication tables. Allow soft music with no words to play in the background while working,
Fun can be color. Make flashcards on colored 3x5 cards, student learn to hilite the directions in green and the answers in orange. Use colored pencil to do the math! Middle schoolers enjoy this as much as the younger ones!
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Fun can be pictures. Draw a picture to illustrate a problem or set of problems. Students can find pictures in magazine that illustrate some of their homework problems, or write a math problem of their own based on a picture they find.
Fun can be construction. Use interconnecting building blocks as rewards for correct answers. The color and shape and size can be determined by attributes in each answer. The older they are the more challenging the attributes are, again middle schoolers love to play with building blocks.
Fun can be throwing. A simple soft ball or bean bag can be used in oral drill, throw it back and forth to the student , teacher asks and throws, student answers and throws back.
Fun can be talking with your hands. Design hand signals for math vocabulary or steps to a process to help memory. Creating a mantra or a chant to recite them each day makes math more fun!
Fun can be manipulating. Many schools use fraction tiles, or attribute blocks. Post it notes with numbers can be used to do problems on the desk. They can be color coded them by place value!
Fun can be an unusual medium. There are special dry erase markers that will write on windows! Giant pencils, pencils that are straws, can be the simple thing that make the lesson enjoyable
Fun can be interesting creative games. Games of all shapes and sizes can be used in the classroom and still be part of the daily lesson! Pencil and paper games, challenging board games, large full classroom games where students get up and move around or even outdoor activities all have adaptations available to use to making learning math extra fun.
These ideas illustrate that creating a fun atmosphere for math classes can be simple but effective. It is important that the teacher incorporate these activities directly into lessons and not as a separate special activity or game time. This creates a positive attitude towards the class as a whole and eliminates the students pestering with, "Can we play a game today?" Eventually making math learning extra fun will become second nature, incorporating the techniques as a matter of routine to classes of all ages.