African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Making Maths an everywhere activity.

As the adage goes all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This was during a physical activity session led by Kevin.

As the adage goes all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This was during a physical activity session led by Kevin.

Mathematics is an interesting subject; it is all about curiosity and finding solutions. There's always an equation to solve or an x to be found or a theorem to prove. People's attitude towards mathematics is what makes them think of it as easy and fun or challenging and boring. We tend to develop stronger opinions on mathematics when in high school. Some love it, some hate it and some just don't know what's going on in a mathematics class.

What every teacher advises students is, to pass mathematics they have to practice. The common thing that is always said is “Do at least five sums a day”. That is an open instruction, so most students either don't even listen to that or they do the five sums but only those they can manage to do, the easy ones, so they end up not learning anything.

One misconception we have is that Math can only be learnt in class; however, learning Math can be very fun and enjoyable and what it needs is just your creativity. There are various activities, and games one can engage in that will make mathematics fun. Students can come up with games or programs to help them in understanding Math in a simpler and fun way. Some of these activities include;

Roll the dice.

Dice can be used in so many different ways when it comes to math. Whether you’re practicing multiplication facts or fractions, students can create their own math problems with the roll of the dice. They can create fractions, simple multiplication problems or even word problems using dice. This can also be a fun way to put together a homework assignment: Students roll the dice during class, then take the problems home to solve. 

Play Sudoku.

Sudoku is definitely a good way to practice math, and you can find puzzles, books and samples all over the place. By solving these puzzles, a student gets well acquainted with numbers and it tests their speed in solving puzzles. 

Create a math Concentration game.

Create your own version using math problems or cutting up old flash cards. Here’s how: Have the math problem on one card and then the answer on another. So you might have 4 x 5 on one card, and then another card would have 20. Have your fellow students find each answer for a correct match. You could even color-code the cards to make it easy to distinguish questions vs. answers.

Make math an everywhere activity.

Some of these games can be played everywhere. Even when waiting to be served lunch, or in the field, or on their way home, anywhere, students can take the flash cards and answer the math problems. All these little practice sessions can really add up in developing skills. With all these ideas students can enjoy math without feeling burdened by it.

These are just but a few of the many ways in which the learning of mathematics can be fun and enjoyable It is a personal decision to change one’s attitude, so each student should evaluate what they want and decide on it. A good grade is equal to better opportunities and that I think is what each student wants. Improving in mathematics is a boost for each of the other subjects. If someone has made time for mathematics and they start improving, then studying for the other subjects and passing won't be hard. Yes indeed Mathematics can always be done!

Written by Beryl Bewa

 

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