You are on page 1of 5

# MOTI\ATII\G

Math Students
Techniques Activities
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ASKED, do we have to do this?" Studentsoften need a reason for doing a math assignment.This article will help you discoverways to motivate students.Most of the activitiesapply to the upper grades,although some can be used with youngerchildren. Two important conceptsfor teachersto keep in mind are these: (l) The importanceof firsthand experiences assiststudentsin learning to math conceptscannot be overstated;and (2) the way you packagematerial makes all the difference in whether it appealsto pupils or not. Studentsseemto have considerabledifficulty with decimals, fractions, percentages, and metrics. Therefore, this article will concentrateon activities and methods for enhancingstudent learning in theseareas. "why File-FolderActivities for Decimals when my studentshave difficulty with decimalsand place value, I use a colored file-folder activity for each of the difficult areas. This folder has pocketsfor ones,tens, tenths, hundredths,et cetera. Using cards with decimalswritten in words (i.e., three hundred sixty-seven thousand/lzs), studentschoosematching numerals from a pocket and try to place them in the correct pockets. The folder is second self-checking, since studentscan turn the card over to find
T h e a u t h o r i s a m a t h a n d s c i e n c e e a c h e ra t B e r r i e n S p r i n g s M i d d l e S c h o o l , B e r r r e n t S p r i n g s , M i c h i g a n . S h e h a s c o n d u c t e dw o r k s h o p s o n L e a r n i n g C e n t e r sa n d I n d i v i d u a l i z i n g I n s t r u c t i o n f o r A n d r e w s U n i v e r s i t ya n d M i c h i g a n S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y .

By Judy Zimmerman

VOL. .17, NO. 3, FEBRUARY. MARCH. I9E5

The cone is the fraction written out while the scoops have the percentage.) ln a similar activity. I call this "Decimal Delights." "improper.Picture removed the correctanswer.decimal. Each student gets to make a freaky character with a fraction such as % or % on it." and "unalike" fractions. THE JOURNAL OF ADVENTIST EDUCATION .The student has to as decide on a percentage well as figure the cost after the discount has been deducted. "Freaky Fractions" is the theme we use when we study fractions. pupils place felt numeralson top of a felt-coveredbox. and fraction I havefound that file-folder qctivitiesare my bestresource since they can eqsilybe stored and pulled out for individual studentswho qre having difficulty with s specificmoth concept." Students receive points for completing various activities using thesematerials. This also includesa file folder activity in which studentsmust place fractions on cards in the appropriate reduced fraction pocket. Students are encouraged to explore ways fractions are used in everyday life. We then combine these to create a giant bulletin board with headings such as "proper.(SeeIllustrationNo. LearningAbout Percentages When our classworks with percentages I ask the studentsto bring departmentstore catalogs from home. Another percentage activity involves cutpatterns of an ice cream cone with ting out severaldifferent color scoops. They then create by advertisements cutting out pictures and writing story problems that offer percentage discountsjust as they might be usedin newspaper advertisements. 1. They receive extra points eachtime they bring in such material. Studentsthoroughly enjoy seeingthesecolorful projects posted on the walls as well as working on one another'sstory problems.

in numerals. 2.NO.) themselves.MARCH. FEBRUARY.Each studentis given a new pencil and requested record the date when he to or she usesit up. Picture removed I have8. W h o h a st h i s p l u s l 0 ? I have26. p l u s2 ? I h a v e1 6 . After we collect the data. lllustration No. 2. the studentslove it. W h o h a st h i s p l u s6 ? I h a v e2 3 . If the teacher feels that this activity takes too much classtime. 47. Who has this plus 3? I have 25. times 2? lhave22. Who has this plus 4. W h o h a st h i s l e s s ? 2 I h a v e1 3 . In this area. reshuffle. W h o h a st h i s t i m e s3 ? I h a v e3 3 . I h a v e9 . we make graphs to see whose pencil lasted the longest. Consequently. The students then par(To page 43) VOL.Have one child read his question. Best of all. W h o h a st h i s l e s s ? 2 I have29.When the loop is complete. Who has this less9? I have 10. 3. p l u s 9 ? I h a v e1 7 . I h a v e3 . Materials neededinclude a set of 3 x 5 cards. Who has this plus 8. Who has this less29? I have0.collect the cards. plus 4? I h a v eI l . Who has this and 4 more? I have32. I have4. d i v i d e db y 3 . Ihave2. he or she can make the parts and have the students put them together correctly. Who has this times 2? I have 14. Interesting Flash-cardActivities Have you ever wanted to get out of the boring flash-card mode and still drill children on mathematics facts? The following activity allows you to do this. d i v i d e db y 4 . choosing relevant work is crucial. W h o h a st h i s l e s sl . Learning About Metrics When we introduce METRIC MADNESS I wear a T-shirt that has "Think Metric" written all over it. Who has this less6? I have 19. One activity that our students enjoy is finding out how long a pencil lasts.The person who answers is the one whose I HAVE statement is the correct response. Who has this times 3? lhave24. Who has this lessI ? I h a v e3 l . divided by 4? I have7. Who has this and 6 more? I have6.I985 . I h a v e3 6 . I have found that studentsrememberthe relationshipsmuch betterif they make the cones (SeeIllustration No. However. Who has this divided by 3 . one for each statement from the list below. less6? I have28. Who has this plus 5? I h a v e1 5 . W h o h a st h i s p l u s l . W h o h a st h i s p l u s 8 ? I have2l . and play again. Problem solving is another important aspectof math. every child must do each calculationas the questionsloop around the class. Who hasthistimes 3? Who hasthisdivided 2? by Who hasthistimes 4? Who hasthisless 6? Who hasthisdivided 4? by Who hasthistimes 6? Who hasthisdivided l0? by Who hasthistimes 4? Who hasthisdivided 6? by Who hasthistimes 2? Who hasthistimes 2? Shuffle the cardsand passthem out to the class. I h a v e5 . I have 30. I have20. I h a v e1 2 . This activity has an added side benefit-students tend to guard their pencils and use them sparingly. I h a v e1 8 . WHO HAS??? (Addition-Subtraction-MultiplicationDivision Drill) Statements: I have6. Who has this less3.

Piele. ed. cit. l98l).f Scien L'e o n Sot'iety-. ) 'Kalhlcen J . "The MicrocompurerAn Environment That Teaches: Exploring the Hidden Curriculum.Iarlle Geomet! (Cambridge. o 1 9 8 0 )p p .ED 2 1 9 8 7 9 . Pusut St. and Powerfull&a. Mindstornts: Children..ttnct. "lncreasing Student Engagement During Questioning Strategy Sessions. . 'o Kelman. et al. 1983). " ' u S o m e b e l i e v et h a t b y u t i l i z i n g t h e u n i q u e c a p a b i l i t i e so f c o m p u t e r s . 84 (May-June.awrence P.: The MIT Press. " School Science and Mathematics. 1984). a n d Cerald H. Wash. classroom teachers. . 1 9 8 0 ) FOOTNOTES Mike Lally and lain Maclcod. ) . "Krds Are Learning More Than Their A. Mass. Rudnytsky. 'Bevcrly ts. Grayson. B r i g h t .36. 16. VOL.83 (April.1 0 a r e l i s t e d a c r o s st h e t o p a n d down the sideof the first stick. 216. .p p . pttter. possibly os a result of pupils spendingmore time on task when using the computer.hool Di. ll4 (May-. p.e t al. College of Educal i o n . and then d i s s e m i n a t i n gh e r e s u l t so f t h e s e t e v a l u a t i o n s ."r' When educators consider the use of computers in the classroom. 1 9 8 4 ) .S e p r e m b c r . 24.".ttrudion in Math. 9 8 3 ) . [njoyable Learning Environmcnt. An added benefit of the sticks is 43 . where everyonelearns all material essentially perfectly. 283." A+ Mogozine. l l . 281. 24. McConncll. and computer programmers need to work together to developsoftware t h a t n r a k e st h e c o m p u t e r " a n i n teractive. 1980)." C:EHM. r r S u n b u r s tC o m m u n i c a t i o n s . Threadgill-Sowder and patricja A. and powerful medium for teachingand learni n g . 'o Robert Sylvester. 3 . S t e e l e . p. l . 1 9 8 4 ) . op. " Wiebe. p. 6 5 . 66. p " Grayson. Endreweit.M i c h a e l T . ERIC--Educational R c s o u r c e sn f o r m a t i o n C c n t e r . "l)evclopment o f S k i l l sT h r o u g h C l o m p u l e r sA c h i e v i n ga n E f f c c : tivc. ) C o Peter Kelnran. 1 9 8 3 ) . Virginia: Na t i o n a l C o u n c i l o f T e a c h e r s f M a t h e m a t i c s . in-depth research is n e e d e dt o s r u d y r h e i r i m p a c r o n the mathematics curriculum. ll (November. The other sticks list vertically multiples of the number at the top of each stick. 8l.. 4 E D . p. learning theorists. 7'7 (Septem:6 b e r . rr Joanne B. . Contputers in Mothemqtics Lducution (Resron." I/orcester (Mass. " W h a t R c s e a r c hS a y s : N ' l i c r o c o m p u t e r s n d M a t h e n r a t i c sI n s t r u c t i o n . "Conrputer A s s i s t c dP r o b lem Solving in Mathematics. . . " Ibid. 65. They then weigh it and the student w h o c o m e s t h e c l o s e s tt o a g r a m wins.\t'w Ttrhnologl-. ' Bob Undcrhill..p . Mass. cl al. 123. 220. 283. "Thc Fourth RevolurionC o m p u t e r sa n d l ..C. S Pro<'eedings.2 (September. Procecdings.) Telegram (Augusr 19. Mirchelt and Grace M.. I985 Drill and Practice.. " Ibid. . 3. 287. 1 9 8 2 ) . 3 ( J u l y 2 l . This activity involves ten craft sticks and some grosgrain ribbon. U n i v e r s i t yo f O r e g o n .e d u c a t o r s a n i n d i v i d c u a l i z e i n s t r u c t i o n " t o a c h i e v et h e goal of mastery learning.'r ^lchool St'ient't' und Mathentatics. C A I r Phcntrmenrrn. 1 9 8 2 )p ... 2 5 . L-rlension oJ the Hunon Minrl. pp.l9tt4). Finol Rcporl (Pasco. E ." Ifte Mothemuics Teocher.t h e B a d . 1984). E d u c a t i o n . D. as well as on the role of the teacher. (1'his r c p o r t i s l r o m E R I ( l r n i c r o f i c h e . Studiesindicatethat drill-and-practice software generolly producessmall but stst ist icaIly significant gains in student computqtionslskills. (-utttputers in Teaching Morhenati6 (Reading. 285. S l o a n . they constitute a multiplication fact table.tsisted In.p . they should "not be thinking about computers" but "should be thinking about education. Adventures in Inslructional Cotrrputing (Hereallcr abbreviatcd AEDS proe(lutg.. 8 8 .: 1984 yearbook of t h t ' N a t i o n a l C o u n c i l o f T e a c h c r so f M a t h e n l a ti c s) Sc) mour PaperI. '6 Wiebe. p.4 7 0 . FEBRUARY.: Addison-Wesley P u b l i s h i n gC o .e a r n i n g . 5. the learnerand the learningprocess. Another invaluableaid that I use with students who have not yet learned their multiplication tables is math sticks. 'James S.F u n d s m u s t b e p r o vided for this purpose.'Kids and Computers: A New Kind of Sociabiliry. p.struction are no better than the materials they contain. ' M a r i l y n N . " Allrcd Bork. curriculum specialists.95-137. 8|. r* Sloan. 32:4 (October-Deccmber. '' Sally A . S . Cangelosi. Quality coursewarefor teaching mathematicsthat reflects Seventhday Adventist philosophy needsto be selectedand/or developed for c h u r c h s c h o o l s . r J a m e sH . The student can use the sticks to assisthim in mastering facts he has not yet learned. 2. pp. . '' Harold Abelson and Andrea di Sessa.) (Washington.A f e w d e n o m i n a tional educational institutions should be delegated the responsibility of evaluating software.1 4 2 ." The Computer. B.\. " Kelman.: Association for []ducalional Data Syslems. l n d e r s t a n d i n gh e . (ERIC 2 1 9 8 5 9p . Burton.\."3. ( H e r e a f t c ra b b r e v i a t e d : E H M . When the sticks are completed. " L . 285. p 'o Kelman. "An Ovcrview of C o m p u l e r si n U . 2 2 1 .. " Wiebc.lunc. 84 (Fcbruary." /rnpacl o. We also measure the room all over with a meter stick or try a ball-throwing contest in which students measure in meters the distancethe ball has traveled. 4 . Teuching Elententary School Mothemotics (Columbus.Ialh Instruction to Dcvclop Computer Literacv. Annual Summer Conference. Lvaluation of Cont puler A. " N e e d c d : Good Marhemarics Tutorial Software for Microcomputers. The numerals l . Va. 81.l i 3 . t Underhill. " Judith A. l-'rontiers in Adminr\trut!\( ( otnputing.I n c . "Beyond Motivating Math Students (Continued from page 7) ticipate in various hands-on experiences./lor.: Pasco S c h o o lD i s l r i c ( . C's. ' ' K e l m a n . a n d r h e U g l y . 1 9 8 4 ) . I 1? \ '(ieorgc W . r984). p. " l n s t r u c r i o n a l U s e so f C o m p u t e r s :T h e C i o o d . W i e b e . " a S<'hrxtlSciente und Math?noti6. l ." C:EHM. ' An Agendufur A. Ohio: Charles E. such as taking bites out of a graham cracker until they think what is left is a gram mass. Hansen. Merrill P u b l i s h i n gC o . p. 371. Cont. Juilts. 'o Sunburst Communications. Careful coordination among the institutions involved can prevent duplication of costs and effort. E l ) 2 3 5 9 5 9 . Brockover.l n c .r (New York: Basic B o o k s . Jr. et al.E I ) 2 2 3 2 3 9 . l 2 ( A u g u s t .' tr RECOMMENDED READING Viggrr P.395."' tlEDS pnxeedings: l'he Tomor ntx in.l9ti2).3 . p. (Reston. p . 47. Mari E. ( T h i s p 1 rcport ls on microfichc. '* Learning Company'.NO. 'r McCraw-Hill. Olds. l 9 8 l ) . . B a t t i s t a . -Developing S p a t i a lA b i l i t y i n Y o u n g C h i l d r e n . "Using Micro assisted N. 1 3 2 . S u y d a m . p . 1 7 .et al. '' Olds. p. " Sthool Scienceund Mothenutics. including field testing. " C : E H M . J o u r n s ! .. 38. " . " Charles E. o [. " T . flexible. 1 5 8 . ' Donald T. "Manipulative Versus Symbolic Approaches to Teaching Logical Connectives in Junior High School: An Aptitude x Trcatmenr lnteraction Study. MARCH. p. (ERIC microfiche. 291. '' Henry F. ) 'r Wiebe. p. B e c a u s e o m p u t e r s r es o n e w i n c a schools." Journal -ftr Reseorch in Mothemati('s Edutalion.2 3 .

It is not necessary do to this all at once.1 9 8 0 ) SotvingProblerns Kids CareAbout (t 9 8 1 ) G o o d y e aP u b l i s h i nC o .I give them reduced assignments a folder. 4.that by taking sticks like 3 and 4 and putting them side by side. and down are employed. such as a sticker. Sometimes I enlist parental help in providing some of the rewards if there is a need for more tangible reinforcem e n t . You can develop similar resourcematerials yourself. or a pencil. I have found that file-folder act i v i t i e sa r e m y b e s t r e s o u r c e i n c e s they can easilybe storedand pulled out for individual studentswho are having difficulty with a specific math concept. ( S e eI l l u s t r a t i o nN o . 1 At that time they receivea previously agreedupon reward. Numbers can be matched with their word equivalents (l with one). At noon the teacher tells the student that lunch time begins at l2:N and ends at l2:30. (See Illustration No. 27408 NC G o o dA p p l e . Soon you will have a vast supply of materials from which to c h o o s ej u s t t h e a c t i v i t y n e e d e dt o motivate your students. O f t e n a s t u d e n tn e e d st h e s e added incentives for only a few m c n t hs . 62321 lL Mathematics M ichigan in Volume IX.CA 90401 Picture removed Math Disabilities (Continued from page l0) before. Choose one math concept with which your students are having difficulty and develop r e \ o u r c e st o e n r i c h y o u r i n s t r u c tion. I have found that stickers are an excellentsourceof motivation and cost little compared to the results they accomplish. between. Each day in they complete the required problems I give them l0 points until t h e y h a v e a c c u m u l a t e d 0 0p o i n t s . No. showing where the hands of the clock will be at both times and THE JOURNAL OF ADVENTIST EDUCATION . up. free day.I n c . ofter. Telling time can be taught by showing the actual times for class activities on a large clock with moveable hands. Box 299 Carthage. tl Resources Centers Galore l4l I Mill Street EducatioCenter n Greensboro. r g 1 6 4 0 i f t hS r . 3 . 5 X ( J u n e . ) Rewards Whenever I have students who work slowly or fail to turn in their assignments. the s t u d e n tg e t sa l l t h e m u l t i p l e so f % . F SantaMonica.) Listed below are some sources for materials I have found to be practical and easyto use. I n c .