(StatePoint) Ask kids what their favorite school subject is and fewer and fewer will say “math” as they age. While 37 percent of 4th graders report that math is one of their favorite subjects, only 15 of 12th graders say the same, according to National Center for Education Statistics.
At a time when a strong math foundation is more important than ever before, you may be wondering how to keep the subject fun and interesting for kids, even as the workload grows more complex and challenging with each passing year.
Here are a few ideas for infusing fun into the equation:
• Set a good example: Don’t make math out to be a subject you yourself don’t enjoy. Whether you’re talking about the batting average of your favorite player, working out your budget or watching a news report citing statistics, you can point out the many ways in which math is used to think about the world and spark a numbers-fueled conversation.
• Embrace a love of tech: Your children are digital natives, so when it comes to mathematics, let them use the tech tools that feel most natural to them without limitations. You can feel particularly good about this decision when it comes to calculators.
Many calculators today are much more intuitive to use than their predecessors, allowing students to spend more time learning the joy of math rather than figuring out how to operate the device. For a high-quality scientific calculator, check out the fx-300ES from Casio, which has over 250 functions. Once a graphing calculator is needed, a good choice is the fx-CG50, which has a high-definition, three-dimensional display.
• Check in: Many students stop loving math once it gets hard. Unfortunately, a lot of students don’t mention they are struggling until it’s too late to easily catch up, as most lessons build on previously taught material.
Periodically check in with your student to ensure they are keeping up with their classmates. Let them know there is no shame in getting an extra bit of help. Many teachers will meet with students before or after class to offer assistance and answer questions. Study buddies, tutors and online tutorials can also help students grasp the material, achieve good grades and ultimately, continue to enjoy math.
There is no doubt about it, a love of math is a good thing. By making it approachable and offering the right tools, you can help your young mathematician continue to embrace the subject.
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