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Tools For Teaching Math In The Classroom

A large portion of mathematics deals with abstractions and concepts that are not easily explained with words. The simple processes of addition and subtraction are often concretely displayed to children using math manipulatives or other objects. More advanced formulas and equations, like determining area or perimeter of a shape, are more effectively explained with some tools that have been specifically designed to help children understand. Keeping these tools readily available in the classroom will help to reinforce the lessons that are taught each day.

Visual Teaching Aids

Not all children learn audibly. Many children require a combination of different teaching methods in order to fully learn a new concept over time. Visual teaching aids like learning charts and flash cards create an understandable expression of an otherwise abstract process. Additionally, having learning charts hanging in a classroom allows students to look at and slowly process the information at any point during the day. The charts also provide a constant reference that children are able to use whenever necessary so that they are not restricted by what can be remembered quickly during class. Flash cards are a useful visual aid because they combine different forms of memorization and cognitive skills that help to develop a stronger memory of necessary mathematical ideas.

Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives bridge the gap between tactile, visual and audible learning. The problems that are displayed on a blackboard or read to the class from a book are physically formulated with manipulatives. This might mean building shapes from small interlocking blocks to determine the perimeter, or it might mean aligning colored wooden blocks of different lengths in order to express fractional values of a whole. Students who are using math manipulatives have the opportunity to create strong associations without direct instructions from the teacher simply through observation and manipulation. Some students are even able to use manipulatives in a way so that logical concepts that have not been taught directly are innately understood because of the physical interaction with the pieces.

Word Problem Games

There are tools such as flip cards and resource books that contain very well produced word problems that are designed to test the skills of a class. Word problems are an important part of teaching mathematics because they require comprehension from the student. Comprehension of a word problem means that there is an underlying understanding of the issues that are being raised. Finding the correct solution helps to establish connections in the brain that will prepare students for more advanced topics such as geometry and algebra. Word problems are also helpful, because they provide a format where students will need to use a range of math skills in order to arrive at the correct answer.

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