Encouraging math in afterschool programs not only promotes better grades and increased understanding for students in their classes, but also prepares students for their futures. Employment in STEM related fields is growing, and fostering student’s interest in these subjects is vital to success. Incorporating math into engaging activities can be hard, so here are some ideas to get you started.
A Missouri Example
“Buffalo Prairie Middle School has done a fantastic job of getting their students actively involved in Math. Every Monday they begin with a “math problem” and students are challenged to take a form, work out the problem by showing their work on how they arrived at the answer, then place their answer forms back into the box on Tuesday. The Math Afterschool Club checks the entries and those that get it correct are put in a drawing. One student, with the correct answer, is picked from each grade, and the principal/Math Club group then announces the winners each Friday. The rewards are donated candy bars.”
Submitted from MASN Afterschool Regional Educator Sandra Pratt
Other Activity Ideas
In order to reinforce student’s understanding of the clock, time, and simple mathematical equations, have students create a clock with the time values being equations. For example, 2 o’clock is written as 3-1, 6 o’clock, 2×3, etc. To make it more advanced for an older age group, they could spot check each other’s clocks, make more complex mathematical equations, and even create a puzzle by cutting their clock into 12 slice.
Games which incorporate a group of students are another great way to get students excited, and Math Bingo is a simple and fun way to do just that! Staff members call out equations and have students search for their answer on their board, or vice versa- students hear the answer and search for a corresponding equation. This works for any age group–you’ll just want to target skill levels accordingly.
Another fun option is to have a Math Race. Divide students into two teams, with two students (of opposite teams) racing each other to find the correct answer to the equation called out by staff. Every time the team wins, they get a point. At the end the winning team gets candy. This game not only allows for a competitive spirit, but also makes quick thinking a priority!
We hope you’ll try these activities and more, as making math a part of your afterschool program can positively affect students by reinforcing their learning in the school day and getting them excited about math!