Have you had a similar experience? We had just completed the math lesson and based on our discussion I knew my daughter understood the concept. So I gave her the corresponding worksheet. And she shut down. She struggled to answer the problems. I took the worksheet from her and asked her to bounce on the mini trampoline while I read the problems to her. She was then able to answer every single problem quickly.
She needed to move while practicing the math facts she had just learned.
Let’s talk about why you should use movement to practice math facts and how you can incorporate it into your homeschool day. You can read the post or watch the video at the end of this post.
Why should you use movement to practice math facts?
As our story above demonstrates, many children are able to understand mathematical concepts they are not yet ready to express on paper. Writing answers to math problems is more advanced than understanding the concept itself. Removing the worksheet and written math facts allows your child to focus on the concept without the added stress of writing the answer as well.
Benefits kinesthetic learners
Many children, and especially kinesthetic learners, benefit from practicing math facts through movement. Moving frees their brain to focus. It also helps them remember the facts better.
Allowing children to move while they memorize math facts helps them remember better.
Even if your child is able to complete a worksheet of math problems, adding variety increases his interest and willingness to complete the lesson.
How should you use movement to practice math facts?
You can create your own math problems based on the concept your child is currently practicing or you could use the problems from his current worksheet.
- Ask your child to solve a simple math equation as he jumps on the trampoline, bounces on an exercise ball, hula hoops, jumps rope, bounces a basketball, or performs jumping jacks, push-ups, or sit-ups.
- Draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk. Write equations in each square. Instruct your child to call out the answer to each equation as he jumps on the squares. Variation: write numbers for skip counting practice.
- Draw a path around the driveway with sidewalk chalk. Segment the path into rectangles and fill each rectangle with an equation. Instruct your child to roll a die and jump that many rectangles. He should then solve the equation written in the rectangle in which he lands.
- Write skip-counting equations (e.g. (9×1, 9×2, 9×3, etc.) or math fact equations in a straight line along the sidewalk. Instruct your child to say the answer to the equation as he hops or bounces a ball on each equation.
- Set up several cardboard boxes, buckets, baskets, or other containers. Write numbers on individual pieces of paper and tape each paper to a container. As you call out an equation, have your child toss a ball or frisbee into the container with the number that is the answer to the equation.
- Write numbers in random places on the driveway ensuring that the numbers are not in numerical order. Instruct your child to run to the number that is the answer for the equation you call out. Variation: Fill up water balloons. Instruct your child to say the answer, and then throw the balloon at the number that is the answer.
- Write equations on slips of paper and lay each slip of paper in a plastic cup. Set the cups in a row or triangle. Have your child toss a ping pong ball into a cup, read the equation, and say the answer.
- Have your child perform math sprints similar to line sprints performed in sports practices. Draw nine lines on the driveway, three to four feet apart. The finished lines will resemble a ladder. Write a math equation on each line except the first one. Explain to your child that he will stand on the first line. When you say you, “GO!”, you will start a timer and he should run to the second line, touch the line, say the answer to the equation, and run back to the first line. He will then run to the third line, touch the line, say the answer to the equation, and run back to the first line. He should repeat this process for each line. Record the time it took to run all of the math sprints. The next time you perform this activity, see if he can beat his previous time.
- Have your child stand six to eight feet from a wall. Instruct him to bounce a ball toward the wall using a bounce pass (i.e. the ball bounces on the ground before rebounding off the wall). As the ball bounces off the ground, he should say skip counting numbers or math facts out loud. Variation: He could bounce the ball to you or a sibling.
- Instruct your child to practice skip counting while dribbling a ball. Challenge him to keep a steady rhythm and say the next number in the sequence as the ball bounces off the ground.
Regardless of how you incorporate movement, remember to keep the sessions short (10-20 minutes for grades 1-3 and 20-30 minutes for grades 4-6).
This post has been linked to Hands-on Homeschool Ideas