With so many students struggling to understand math, even the most seasoned instructor can find it a daunting subject to teach. In 2011, the National Center for Education Statistics* found that only 40 percent of 4th grade students tested in math performed at or above a proficient level while only 35 percent of 8th grade students tested were found to be at or above proficiency. Change those numbers in your class this year and help your students increase their subject scores. By making math fun and engaging, you can help your students learn essential concepts in new and lasting ways. Below are 10 tips that will help you make the most out of math in 2014!

1. Use Object Lessons- Creating hands-on lessons can capture the attention of your students and help them become invested in the concepts being taught. Instead of using numbers or counting blocks for assignments, do a demonstration using candy, toys, or even the students themselves. They’re far more likely to care how many suckers are left at the end of a problem if they know the person who gets the answer right may get to enjoy one!

2. Play Games- Math can be a lot more fun when it’s presented in game form. Create your own board game using poster board and markers. Divide students into teams then have them roll the dice to see how many spaces they might get to move but have a team representative solve a math problem first. If they get it right, the team moves ahead the number of spaces shown on the dice. If they get it wrong, the other team gets a chance to try!

3. Rewind and Review- Tell the class you’re having a ‘rewind’ day and go over concepts taught in the days or weeks before. For extra class motivation, consider giving stickers or small prizes to students who remember the ‘rewind’ concepts and can answer the review questions correctly.

4. Fun Worksheets- While the standard list of math problems may be a common form of classwork or homework, handing out a fun worksheet may boost your students’ interest. Use ones that require matching colors with number answers or that spell out a message when the correct answers are plugged in.

5. Use a Gynzy Tool– Using a Gynzy math tool for your students’ interactive white boards combines math with technology to make the subject entertaining and enjoyable. With games that range from money concepts to decimals and percentages, there is a tool that is perfect for every grade and class.

6. Math Centers- After introducing a math concept, split the class into groups and have them visit centers around the room that are devoted to reinforcing that concept. Worksheets, games, and Gynzy interactive white board tools can all be used as center activities.

7. Math Scavenger Hunt- Create a scavenger hunt in your classroom by leaving math problem clues for your students to find and solve. Display number answers at certain locations in your room. As the students answer questions correctly, they move to the place where the answer is shown to find their next clue. Prizes can be awarded as groups successfully finish the hunt.

8. Partner Activities– Have students work together in pairs to complete a partner math activity. Perhaps they can each work on their own set of problems which, when completed and combined, solve a riddle displayed on the board. Students can also play a partners math game, time each other for Minute Math sheets, or work together to complete in-class projects.

9. Class Rewards- Set a goal as a class to master certain math concepts. When the class test average shows that this goal has been reached, reward your students with prizes, candy, or even a pizza party. Giving them a reward to work toward can increase their motivation and desire to learn the necessary math skills.

10. Math Relay Races- Divide the class into teams and have the students stand in relay lines. Have matching packets of math questions attached to the board at each team’s appointed place. When you say ‘go,’ have the student at the front of each line come quickly to the board and work to solve the next problem in the packet. When each representative finishes, they race to the back of the line and the next person in the team takes their turn. Whichever team finishes first gets a prize!

By using the interactive math tips above in your classroom, you’re certain to win at math in 2014!

*Source = http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=514