It is wonderful that two of my beloved colleagues (Geri Wilson and Kenney Jeffries of Shadow Hills Elementary) have expressed their views on the importance of math in the Idaho Statesman Schools section. The title of the article was Help Kids Master Math and it was there that they offered tips to help students retain and learn number skills.

“Idaho kids”, says Bill Roberts of the Statesman, “never test better in math than they do in fourth grade, Statewide test scores show a frustrating decline in math beginning in fifth and going through 10th grade. ?.Lots of people are looking at what can be done to reverse the trend. But you don?t have to wait for the experts. We talked to fourth and fifth grade Boise teachers about what parents can do at home to encourage and nurture kid?s math skills.”

Shadow Hills teachers Geri Wilson and Kenney Jeffries shared some wonderful ideas such as:

1. Make math relevant and real

2. Hand our some numbers and have kids create word problems

3. Make a budget by having them decide how to buy things

4. Quick math quizzes in the conversation for fun

5. Get cooking by showing math while preparing food

6. Play with fractions by asking life questions that uses fractions

7. Toss the dice by playing games with dice

8. Look for patterns

9. Have kids take measurements

10. Play math games

Here are some more Ways to Make Math Fun says Kathryn Martinez! of http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1106.html

Math can be one of those really challenging subjects to get the kids to see the fun in. Below are some of the fun things that I?ve done with my children to get new math principles across:

1. Why do I have to learn this anyway? — How many times have you heard this? One way to combat this is to have your child to find as many different examples as they can of how math is used in every day life. Examples could be: —balancing a checkbook —games (even professional games like football, basketball, soccer, baseball, etc.) —using money —cooking —cutting a cake or pie into equal pieces —sewing —building a house —planning a vacation, road trip, budgeting, etc.

2. ?Geometry is stupid! And I?ll never get it!!? — I felt this way myself a few times. —Let your child look for geometric shapes around the house, playground, grocery store, or other areas. Make a chart or list of the findings. —Give them some graph paper and see how many different geometric creations they can create. —Watch a woodworking show or check out some wood working books at the library. How do the craftsmen use geometry?

3. ?What the heck is a ratio?!? ? Ratios were used more earlier in history when literacy wasn?t as prevalent as it is today. It was used for packing a musket gun. It was used in recipes. It was the method that pharmacists used to make their medicines up. —make up a prediction, such as ?I think that one out of every five kids at the playground between noon and one will be wearing a hat. Make up a plan to check your prediction then carry it out. Compare your prediction with the results.

4. What better way to show off your math skills than to plan a party? Decide how many people you are going to invite. How much food will you need to order or make per person? Figure out the budget for your party and how much you are going to spend on food, party supplies, etc..

5. Design a piece of playground equipment. Use geometry, symmetry and measurement. You can even make a scale model using clay, balsa wood, wire, or other construction materials.

6. Draw your house or bedroom to scale. Or, design a new house or bedroom.

7. Graphs: Keep track of the weather, the foods you eat, how you spend your time, or other activities. Plot a graph using this information.

8. Fill a container will jelly beans, m-n-m?s, cottonballs, popcorn kernels, etc. Have a contest to see who can most closely guess the number objects in the jar. The can measure the container, measure one of the kinds of objects in the container. This can teach the concept of volume.

9. Make up a secret code. Write a secret message in that code and then let someone else figure the code out ? or you can give them a key to work with.

10. Use metric measurements to measure: —your height —the length of your arm —the length of your foot —your weight —the dimensions of a room — the temperature indoors or out Now make these same measurements using standard American measurements. Compare the differences in measurements.

There are many things you can do to make math a fun part of your school day. The more you do, the more you will think of.

Here are some fun websites for parents and for kids to explore that will help kids master math……..

math.rice.edu/~lanius/Lessons/index.html

users.tellurian.net/teach/mathfun/

www.gnarlymath.com/gnarart1.html

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