For a student to be really good at mathematics, skills must be sharpened daily. Math isn’t something you can study like history or literature; it is a ‘doing’ subject that requires practice. Whether this happens through numeracy games, flashcards, worksheets, or hands-on activities, doesn’t matter as much as putting the time in. This can be an uphill battle, especially if a child has negative feelings attached to math.
Why is Daily Math Important?
When children say that I ‘hate math’ or feel they aren’t good at it, what they usually mean is that it is difficult for them. Not enjoying math is a widespread issue. One research study polled a thousand kids, asking them if they would rather eat broccoli or do math problems. Broccoli won by a high margin.
There is often fear, especially fear of failure, attached to math. We can compare this to riding a bike. The first few times a child rides a bike, they are likely to fall off. Bumps and bruises are common, and this can bring on tears and frustration.
To overcome these negative feelings, the child’s parents would encourage him/her to get back on the bike and try again. Once the child has mastered riding, the fear becomes a thing of the past. The same concept is true for mathematics.
The only way to conquer this subject is daily practice. The following daily math ideas for students is an excellent place to start.
Daily Math Practice Idea 1: Interactive Numeracy Games
This is one you’ve probably considered but may not be using regularly. Many parents (and teachers) are iffy about using numeracy games for daily math practice because of preconceived notions about ‘video games’ and how kids learn best. But online games can be great for kids who are struggling with math concepts.
For one, kids love games. 97% play them, so that’s one hurdle that you won’t have to jump over. Also, they are less intimidating than paper worksheets and flashcards.
Take ArgoPrep’s K-8 math program, for example. The games are so interactive and fun that while playing, kids forget that they’re actually ‘doing math.’ This makes it a perfect way to ease reluctant learners into daily math practice.
Well-designed numeracy games have other scientifically proven benefits. Just two months of gameplay can lead to brain growth that controls the following processes:
- Abstract thinking
- Spatial navigation
- Making predictions and decisions
One final benefit of using interactive numeracy games for daily math practice is that they give students healthy opportunities to fail and instant feedback.
As parents, we want our children to succeed. But sheltering them from small failures early on only makes things harder in the long run. Believe it or not, research has proven that children actually understand concepts on a much deeper level if they struggle with it at first.
Well-designed platforms guide students through math problems and help them when they are ‘stuck.’ There is no need to wait for a parent or teacher to help.
Practice Idea 2: Practice Problems
If technology access is limited, or you want to substitute interactive games with another type of daily math practice, traditional practice problems can be a great asset. The problem isn’t finding these resources, but finding the right ones.
Googling ‘math worksheets’ will bring up 106 million results, making the search for great practice problems stressful for parents and teachers alike. Although there are tons of free options out there, it is important to mention that not all worksheets are beneficial.
Because most schools teach based on Common Core State Standards (or something similar), parents should be sure to select standards-based daily math practice resources. This way, your child is not just practicing random math skills but the actual proficiencies needed to excel in the classroom.
Practice Idea 3: Focus on Fact Fluency
If you polled 100 teachers around the country and asked them to name one reason why students struggle with math, you would likely hear the same response over and over: they don’t know their math facts. Although calculators are often allowed for upper grades, elementary and junior high students are expected to know basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Not knowing these facts ‘by heart’ makes progress in math almost impossible.
Thankfully, this is something we can tackle at school and at home. Ways to build fluency:
- Traditional or online flashcards
- Number of the day activities
- Fluency worksheets
- Use math manipulatives like dice and counters
- Math Fluency bingo
- Practice ‘mental math’
If you’re looking for daily math options for your students or children, sign up for ArgoPrep’s all-access K-8 resource program today.