Math and Fun

I strongly believe math can be quite fun in some aspects of it; yet I also believe that not all of it has to be all fun.

It's good for students to learn to work through problems that are just that: work and no fun. That's what real life and real jobs will involve too.

Of course most of us try to get an occupation that we are interested in and can enjoy for the most part, but even then, we probably won't like all parts of our "dream job".

So in math, as in all education, we need to let our students learn to work, struggle, prowl through it.

But we can also let our students have some fun every once in a while. This can make them enjoy math, like math, appreciate it, like learning, and so on. I'm sure it's easy to agree with that.

In lower grades you might have more play than work, and then later on it's more work than play. For example, maybe you're studying coins and their values. Your child can play with real coins, do paper-and-pencil problems, and maybe play an online game about money or coins.

When studying algebra, it is going to be more on the work side, since algebra is similar to learning the "alphabet" and "basic grammar" of a new language. The "fun" topics tend to come after you've learned your basic language and can go off exploring (such as in calculus).

So I feel there is a balance between these two.




Along these lines, I've recently turned my attention to a math website Called Googol Learning whose founder Susan Jarema is making math to be googols of fun (googol is the number 10100, or 1 followed by 100 zeros).

For example, she encourages you to, and gives ideas and resources for starting your own math club! This could be a family math night, or a monthly gathering of a few kids and adults together.

Susan uses a lot of music to make things more fun. She's produced audio CDs that combine math, music, and story telling for better learning.

Susan also gives interactive workshops in schools and homes.

One of these workshops is also now recorded on a CD (Crazy 4 Math), and for another one there is a family and teacher's kit (Discovery Multiplication Math Program).

The site also features a list of virtual field trips about volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or how many everyday things are made.

And what would be math fun without games? On her site you'll also find a list of best online math games.
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