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May 25, 2022

5 Easy Ways to Make Math Fun for Elementary School Students

Math is one of the most challenging subjects for many elementary school students. Some children consider math to be dry and dull, while others find it too abstract to be relevant to their everyday lives. As a result, they may struggle to pay attention and retain fundamental arithmetic concepts in the classroom. The good news is that as a tutor for elementary school students, you can make math fun for younger students to help them be more receptive to learning this essential subject.

Play math games

Can you play games and learn math at the same time?

Absolutely! Interactive math games encourage students to engage in the learning process.

They become invested in learning new concepts to level up and achieve new goals within the game. Try sources like:

Explore game sites to ensure they provide an accurate, level-appropriate representation of what kids really need to know, then encourage them to enjoy math games during some of their tutoring sessions or on their own time.

Make sure your students know how to access their favorite games when needed so they can practice outside of their tutoring sessions.

Use relatable examples

Elementary students are in the midst of forging their future passions. They're deeply engaged with their interests and hobbies. As a result, they're more likely to get interested and participate when you use examples from things they care about. Find out what your students are interested in and incorporate those interests in their math problems.

For example, suppose a student likes dinosaurs. You might start with an example like, "If a T-rex is traveling at 25 mph..."

If your student really likes video games, you might give an example of, "If Mario jumps on sixteen Goombas and Luigi jumps on thirty Goombas..."

As an added bonus, as you get to know more about your student's interests, you'll develop a deeper connection with the student that will make it easier for you to connect in other ways.

Apply lessons to real life

One of the most common complaints students of all levels have about math is that they will never actually use it in their everyday lives. They don't see any real, pressing reason to learn concepts that won't benefit them now or in the future.

Make math relevant to your students by providing real-world examples, like:

  • A cashier making change
  • Balancing a checkbook
  • Figuring out whether they have enough money for a purchase they want to make
  • Calculating size for a home remodeling project
  • Cooking

Work with students to see how they might apply the information they're learning to their future endeavors—and even things they're already doing with friends and loved ones.

You may want to tie these examples back to your students' interests. For example, if you have a student who loves cooking, consider calculating some recipes together.

Do you have a student who is very interested in fashion? A virtual shopping spree could help this student better grasp the concept of money.

Leverage visual learning aids

Around 65% of the population are visual learners, meaning they learn best by having concepts presented to them directly.

They can learn, for example, by watching you perform a problem or by utilizing manipulatives that gives them a chance to see the presented content. With math, that may mean directly showing students how to work through a problem and showing them examples that they can manipulate and use for deeper learning.  

The interactive Lesson Space on the Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe) platform offers students the chance to make the most of visual learning opportunities. With collaborative drawing tools and a didactic virtual whiteboard, you and your student can make the most of that space working through visual examples of problems together.

For example, if you're working with a student struggling to understand fractions, you can use the virtual whiteboard to draw and illustrate a variety of fractions. If you have a student struggling with multiplication, you can use the whiteboard to put together examples and counters.

For many students, this powerful learning tool can go a long way toward making learning easier since they'll be able to see and interact with the material as they learn it.

Model excitement

Your attitude toward math directly impacts your students' attitude toward the subject.

If you treat math like it's a "drag" or your "least favorite subject," chances are, your students will pick up on that attitude. That may further decrease their overall appreciation of math and make it harder to get through those lessons.

Try exuding enthusiasm and excitement during your tutoring sessions. Use an energetic tone, uplifting language, and even hand gestures to help students get more engaged with the problems in front of them.

Encourage students to get excited. You may also want to build up specific concepts ahead of time so that your students will be ready to engage with you.

Use these tips to make math fun in your tutoring sessions

Figuring out how to make math exciting for students can be an ongoing challenge.

Indeed, many students do struggle with math. However, when you engage with your students through math games, relatable examples, and real-life lessons and examples, you'll often find that your students are more likely to engage directly with the content and even appreciate that learning opportunity.

As a tutor, you have the chance to transform the way your students think about math, providing them with a better foundation and deeper grounding that can help them excel in this often-complicated subject.

Are you a math wiz looking to inspire elementary school students to share your love for numbers? Apply today to join our team of talented math tutors!


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Rudy Hernandez

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