Math Comes Alive When Applying Understanding to the Real World

Bring Problems Off the Page

Homework worksheets are an effective way for students to practice what they have just learned, but they don’t encourage deeper understanding or help to make connections. More complex activities that encourage students to seek answers to authentic problems with relatable contexts can jumpstart engagement and enable them to see broader applications to math concepts. Solving problems that are derived from the world around us and combine different disciplines makes math more relevant to students’ lives and therefore worth focusing on. It enables them to see math through another lens— as a useful, practical tool for creativity.

Activity List

Search a list of recommended activities. I have purposely selected ones I feel are especially effective for teaching math concepts and sparking kids’ interest. And, I am continually seeking out further challenging and compelling projects that will stretch young students’ thinking and enhance their problem solving skills.

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Creating a lemonade stand is a great introduction to business for your child. It involves working with money, adding up costs and income, and determining profit.

This activity is all about creativity and problem solving, along with a bit of perseverance. With the given materials, have your child engineer a catapult to throw a marshmallow as far as they can. Then, measure the distance!

In this activity, your child will sort candy by color and determine what fraction of the total each color group represents. Then, candy pieces are drawn blindly and the results are compared to the probability indicated by the original fractions. 

As you build forts with your child using cardboard, you can focus on design and planning, weight, measurement, and working with shapes.

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