21 C LearningI am lucky and pleased to be part of a group of innovative and interesting teachers and consultants who like to explore Math from a 21st Century perspective.
I am also a technology geek. I like to use technology and explore new ways to incorporate it. It adds engagement for our students who, even at 12, are often glued to their cell phones. They are comfortable accessing technology and find it easier to communicate and use it to solve problems.
But, sometimes, we need to put the computers and tablets away. Today I learned, thanks to a long time teaching colleague, that a deck of cards and a game of war can instill some very basic and important number skills while having fun and forgetting that we are doing some Math! You can do arithmetic such as multiplication, you can do Integer concepts (basic gain and loss) as well as working with positive and negative values and you can work with place value and powers of ten. It was a fun session.
If you Google Math games, you will get a plethora of ideas. There are books, videos and whole websites dedicated to the concept. Some are good, some not so much, but the basic idea of having fun with numbers and concepts is worth the exploration. Parents should be encouraged to play Math games at home with their kids. You can use dice, cards, or just pen and paper not to mention the technology based games such as Dreambox or Prodigy.
Family Math nights are becoming very popular as well as full STEM or STEAM nights to encourage families to learn together. Literacy studies have long shown that kids who read with and to their family have higher grades and a better grasp of reading and writing. The same is true for Math. And, family members might just discover that Math is not so scary after all.