5 Easy Ways to Make Maths Lessons “Stick” With Your Child
“Maths is hard” is a common accusation heard in many households. In truth, maths is not inherently difficult. It just becomes so when taught in an abstract manner. Here are some simple ways to make maths lessons more tangible, and easy to recall:
1. Use String or Rubber Bands for Trigonometry
All you need is some string or rubber bands, and a strong piece of card to stick pins in. Use the pins to form triangles, and let your children work out the relevant angles from a tangible model.
You can show them how Pythagoras’ theorem works by changing the shape of the triangle, and letting them see that the “rules” don’t change. More importantly, this provides a tactile aspect that some students prefer.
2. Make Your Children Apply Their Lessons
Here’s an example: the next time your child wants something expensive, explain that you have to use a credit card. Make the purchase for them only after they calculate the amount you’ll have to pay back, including interest.
Most shopping trips are also great places to work with percentages. Consider making after school “homework” a brief shopping trip, in which your child has to calculate 10 – 30% discounts or the 7% GST.
For younger children, give them a budget for their toys – it’s a good way to sharpen their skills at basic addition and subtraction. Strictly no calculators allowed!
3. Turn Angles into a Treasure Hunt
This works best for young children learning about angles.
Give them a piece of paper, divided into three columns: right, obtuse, and acute. Over the next 15 minutes, the children must run around the house finding as many of the appropriate angles as they can (check these later!)
The one who finds the most number of correct angles should get a prize.
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4. Explore the Maths of Their Favourite Movie / Game
This works for older students, and requires some creativity on your part. Say your child loves zombie movies and games: how about designing a maths test that features them? For example, use questions like:
In (sample video game), zombies spawn at a rate of 1.5 zombies per second, but only three can fit through a door every second. You need five minutes in a store to retrieve all the food, and there are two doors leading into the store. If you need three bullets to put down one zombie, how many rounds will you need after five minutes?
Or here’s a science fiction example:
Assume the heroes’ space craft travels 3 light years per second, and the pursuing craft travels at 3.3 light years per second. If the heroes’ craft have a lead of 15 light years, and the pursuer will run out of fuel in 10 minutes, will the heroes be captured?
Be warned though – many people are surprised by how difficult these problems can get; especially when applied to elaborate science fiction settings.
5. Plotting and Graph Games
Get your children to record, and then plot real events on a chart (e.g. the number of red lights they encounter on the way back from school). From there, get them to work out the best times to come home, or to leave for school.
You can also use this method for other tasks, such as plotting their ang pao money-per-visit over the New Year, or the rate of a particular card type that they get in collectible card game packs.
The main aim, besides teaching them to plot and graph, is to demonstrate its relevance to their daily lives.
Too busy to do it? Let us do it for you.
Most tuition centres can’t do this, because it takes too long for a class of 30 or 40 students. Lite Tutors, however, provides custom one-on-one tutoring that allows us to do this for your child. Contact us for more details.