Math is not just a standard subject but an important life skill that everyone must have. After all, we use our problem-solving abilities daily to improve our lives.
You might ponder how to impart this important life skill to your students as a teacher. If you want to enhance your students’ mathematical skills, you are in the right place.
You might also enjoy reading: Top 8 Exciting And Fun Math Activities For Middle School.
Top 9 Teaching Strategies In Mathematics
Here are the top teaching strategies in mathematics you can begin implementing today.
1- Clarify The Concept Behind Each Lesson
If students don’t understand the concept, they will not be able to solve problems. That is why clearing out the concept behind the lesson is important. Of course, it is never as simple as it sounds.
Many students simply follow a pattern to solving math problems without understanding the concept or the why behind it.
To boost conceptual understanding, you must use visual aids and other tools to help you. You can also take the help of math manipulatives to make your students learn better. These include basic tools, such as molding clay, magnets, wooden blocks, and much more.
Many students learn better with hands-on lessons, which is why you must incorporate this. Once you do, the students will be able to grasp the concept in a much better light.
2- Use The Concrete Representational Abstract (CRA) Approach
The CRA approach is suitable and applicable to all grade levels. It is not about the student’s age but the concept they are being taught (Souce: EducationWeek)
According to research, students who use accurate visual representations are six times more likely to solve problems correctly than those who do not.
The good news is that the CRA approach provides students multiple opportunities to explore concepts and connect with previously learned ideas.
The Concrete Representational Abstract (CRA) approach can be applied in 3 steps:
- Concrete step: Students use physical materials (you can use real-life objects or models) to analyze a concept. Using physical materials will allow the students to see and feel abstract concepts.
- Representational step: Students use images, pictures, or virtual manipulatives to represent concrete materials and complete math assignments. Students will start to make connections and gain a deeper understanding of the concept by building, creating, or drawing representations.
- Abstract step: students mostly use numbers and symbols. At this step, students have a solid understanding of the concept
3- Cooperative Strategies
When the entire class works together, it benefits everyone present. That is because advanced students can lead and help other students. Besides that, it also allows students to share their perspectives, which means that everyone can look at one problem from different angles.
Of course, this will lead to creative problem-solving and flexible thinking in your classroom in the long run. You can start this strategy by reviewing a word problem in your class. After that, you can ask the students to create groups and make their own mathematical word problems.
The students must plan the problem and then solve it, and you can encourage them in every way b aiding in the planning and solving.
Each student can also take the time to think about what they bring to the class. So, be sure to use cooperative and teamwork strategies in your math classroom.
4- Puzzle Pieces
One of the most fun and effective teaching strategies in mathematics is using puzzles. That is because some of the kids are excellent at math, but you will rarely notice them participating. It is a little challenging to break through the lack of confidence that the child has.
However, with the help of puzzle pieces, you can ensure that reluctant students are joining in too. For example, you can begin by giving each student a piece of the puzzle. Each student will have something to solve the problem at hand.
Of course, this can be anything from a unit of measurement or just general direction. The key is to break the problem into as many pieces as possible. If you teach mathematics to a large class, you can break down three problems at a time.
You can also use the power of color coding to understand who is working on what part of the problem. After that, you can take a step back and let the students take the lead.
Soon enough, you will watch how the learning takes place as everyone is eager to figure out their piece of the puzzle.
5- Meaningful Homework
Giving frequent homework is one of the top teaching strategies in mathematics because it involves repetition outside the classroom. However, the students will not take an interest unless the homework is fun and meaningful. That is why it is crucial to utilize strategies to make your homework fun.
You can do this by including games, encouraging board game play, creating a quiz-style math game for the entire family to play at home, and more.
All of these are meaningful solutions that will also involve the parents and make the homework fun. However, you must remember that you don’t do this too often because you don’t need to put an extra burden on the parents.
You can incorporate your creative thinking skills and come up with some fun homework to give the children. Once you do, they will have fun at home and be eager to learn even more about the subject.
6- Regularly Communicate With Students
Sometimes, the students might struggle with math problems and may not tell you. That is why it is crucial to keep the communication channels open. You can set aside time in the class where students can ask for help with any trouble that they have with the subject.
You must keep the conversation open and engaging so students can feel comfortable voicing their opinions. It is one of the best teaching strategies for mathematics, no matter what class or level you teach. You can also begin the conversation by addressing students’ problems and offering solutions.
Remember that when the students ask you for help, you must offer explicit instructions. After all, they need clarification, and you need to give this to them.
Also, let them know that this is a challenging problem and that they are not alone in finding that problem difficult.
7- Make Teaching And Learning Mathematics Fun
Most students find mathematics boring, which is why it is up to you to make it fun for them. Of course, even creating a fun mathematics experience can be difficult. So, how can you make it fun for your students to learn better?
Here are some of the top tips you can apply to bring some fun to maths:
- Have a math game show in the class and divide everyone into groups
- Design a math board game and then play it
- Get kids moving in the class to measure distance and speed
- Build various structures and then judge their durability
And the fun games and activities you include will depend on what you teach. However, you can even make repetitive mathematical tasks fun if you have the right tools at your disposal. One of the best teaching strategies for mathematics is to include games.
After all, lectures can be boring, and students also need mental stimulation from time to time. Once you incorporate all these elements, math will become a favorite subject for many of your students. The key is to stay consistent when you are utilizing such strategies.
Once you are consistent and consider these strategies, your mathematics class will become refreshing for many students. They will be eager to come to class and learn from you. In the long run, their interest in math will peak.
8- Have Your Students Generate Word Problems
When possible, ask your students to create word problems for a specific math skill. Through constructing a problem, your students will learn what to look for when solving math problems (Souce: National Center on Educational Outcomes)
Generally, when students create their number and word problems, they learn how to connect math concepts to their prior knowledge and life experiences.
Having your students generate word problems encourages them to think about math problems more critically.
9- Apply Strategic Questioning
Using strategic questioning is an excellent way to transform your class into a deep learning experience or scaffold learning.
Here are sample questions for effectively applying strategic questioning:
- How did you solve this math problem? Benefits:
- The student is inspired to reflect on their thought process in detail.
- Other students will also have the opportunity to understand how to solve the problem, particularly if they struggled initially.
- Ask other students if they have other ways of solving the problem. Asking your students to provide different ways of solving the same problems indicates that there is no single, correct way to do the math. Furthermore, students might discover new techniques from their peers that they can use in future math assignments.
- Does this math exercise remind you of anything else we have previously studied in class? This question will help students connect different math concepts; this habit of checking for familiarity will make your students flexible and agile mathematical thinkers.
- How can we apply this concept in real-life situations? This question helps link class knowledge to real-life applications. Instead of theoretical knowledge, students will understand how to use things they learn in class.
These are the top six teaching strategies in mathematics that you must incorporate into your classroom. All of these fantastic strategies are tried and tested so that you can make the most use of them for a long time to come.
Pick all your favorite strategies and see what your students respond to the most. Once they do, your classroom will become a hub of fun and learning that will make everyone’s math experience better in no time. So, be sure to implement these strategies and reap the best results without much effort.