Saturday, August 13, 2011

Three Quick Math Brain Activities

There are lots of quick things teachers can do to activate the brain while teaching math.  Remember, the brain needs movement and active engagement in order to activate those dendrites.  Keeping things fun along with social interactions are putting the brain in the best place for learning to happen.  Here are some tricks I use.
  1. Skip Count beanie toss:  Skip counting is big in second grade.  Beanie babies are huge in my class.  Pairs of children pick up a beanie and start counting.  The children say a new count every time they catch the beanie.  They keep going as high as they can until time is up.  This could be done with Math facts, too!
  2. Musical Math Facts:  Work in groups of 4 or 5.  Put one less fact card on the desk or table.  As the music starts, they walk around the table.  (Dancing is optional!)  Works just like musical chairs, but when the music stops, each child picks up a math fact.  The last person to say the correct answer to his/ her fact becomes the "cheerleader".  (I use cheerleader rather than loser, as I insist they say positive things to their classmates, even if they're out.  I always remind the boys that, in my class, "cheerleader" doesn't mean wearing a short skirt and shaking pom poms, it means supporting their team mates.)  I like to have several groups going at once, since more kids are practicing more frequently, and it goes more quickly.  The teacher can keep an eye on those kids that need more guidance. 
  3. Calendar March:  My students need to practice the days of the week and the months of the year until they know them by heart.  From their desk position, they all chant the months of the year and march in any direction.  (Of course, I remind them to keep their distance from furniture and people.)  Then I challenge them to find their way back to their seat by marching to the Days of the Week. 

Of course, feel free to adapt any of these ideas to your own grade level.  I use most of these as a warm up at the beginning of math, or as a break to keep the brain focused.

Of course, these three activities can be adapted for anything that needs to be reinforced.  Rather than skip counting, math facts, or days of the week, try the same activities for some other subjects.  Here are some ideas
  • Spelling:  practicing their spelling words, or "igh" family words
  • Reading:  Name all the characters in today's story, or tell the main events in sequential order
  • Social Studies"  Name the 7 continents, or name as many states as you can
The possibilities are endless.  And this is only the beginning of Brain Based Learning in the classroom!

1 comment:

  1. Great suggestions.
    Here are a few more "math tricks" that can be fun to try:
    http://www.pedagonet.com/maths/mathtricks.htm

    ReplyDelete

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