If your students don't think math is fun, then you're doing something wrong! Math should be a time that all students are capable of being successful while learning and having fun. There are so many ways to make math interactive, engaging, and hands on! My students' favorite (and my favorite) time of the day is math, and it shows in the levels of engagement.
This week we were wrapping up our measurement chapter, and we were finishing working with centimeters and comparing centimeters. Today was our last day for working with centimeters, and I wanted to think of something new we hadn't done yet. I remembered that I had a ton of bags of legos from the Target Dollar Spot (can I get an AMEN). Target Dollar Spot is so hard to resist, and it always has some of the best things you never knew you even needed for your classroom.
I had students work with a partner to see who could build the tallest tower using their bag of legos. Students were given 6 minutes to work with their partner. The only rule was that they had to use their own legos, and the tower had to be able to stand on its own without falling over. My kids LOVED this. And, they worked so well together and did quite a bit of problem solving. Some students realized their tower was too wide, and it wouldn't be very tall so they started over. Some students realized that if you stacked a lot of the small squares together, it made the tower a lot taller. Some students realized they didn't have a strong based and it kept falling over, so they had to do some revisions so that the tower would stand. Regardless of the challenges they may have faced, every single group was successful. They showed teamwork, critical thinking skills, and every single group had a tower that was standing at the end.
Once the timer was up, we did our measuring. Obviously their towers were taller than the length of a ruler. Therefore, students had to problem solve when they were measuring. Students had to add their measurements together to get their total. After every group had their measurements, we recorded everyone's height of the towers. Then we compared the heights of the towers. Which group had the tallest? The shortest? How much taller was one group's tower from another group's? We also put them in order from tallest to shortest.
One easy, no prep, math lesson that incorporates so many skills other than just math. This lesson integrated STEM, collaboration skills, problem solving, and math skills. My students and I all had a lot of fun with this activity!
This really hit me hard when i read this quote. So often I get caught up in my own frustrations of not feeling like my students are learning or that I'm not doing a good job. This year has challenged me in so many ways, but the most important thing I can do is love my kids.
My kids may have gotten themselves ready for school all on their own.
They may have not eaten dinner the night before.
They may have not gotten to read with a parent or do their homework with an adult at home. They may have not gotten a hug or a smile from someone at home.
Before a kid can learn, they must know they are loved. It's rewarding knowing that I have the opportunity each day to be that one hug, one smile, one positive adult in their life that they look forward to seeing. Sometimes looking at the small moments in life really help us see what's most important, and sometimes the best thing we can do for out students is provide a safe, positive, and inviting environment.
Hi! My name is Mikaela, and I am currently in my second year of teaching second grade. I am working at a Title I school with a diverse population of learners.