Monday, October 7, 2013

Maths Should Be Fun?

For some reason we seem to be going through a phase in our culture where math has to be fun. Judging by the incredible number of websites that have sprung up with mindless activities that you can play on-line and be subjected to a barrage of ads, or buy at great cost the business world has discovered there's money to be had with people's current dissatisfaction with public education. One such company IXL seems to appear everywhere and has probably the most useless activities of any to be found on-line.

Of course math should not be the incredible tedium it once was and still is in some places but neither should it be fun. It should be CAPTIVATING, INTERESTING, MEANINGFUL, RELEVANT and above all else, IT SHOULD MAKE SENSE. If everything in life was fun we would not know what fun was. Fun is something we have to relax and enjoy ourselves when we are not working. Learning math is work, it is something that, hopefully, is all of the things in CAPS above but it cannot be fun; not all the time. There are some things like muliplication facts that just have to be learned.

There are times of course when what we learn in math can lead to fun, When we are playing games that involve math knowledge and understanding such as cards, board games and many of the tech-based games that children play. Have you ever thought about how much math there is involved in playing Wii or the DS games? (Wii Play Together). There are also some great Apps for the Ipad2 that help children learn math facts and concepts in a motivating way.

OK, so there are some fun games for helping children remember their math facts but these should only be used after children have developed strategies for remembering their facts. Here's my current favorite on-line math activity. It's called Arcademics. Have fun, er, I mean, be captivated and try to
remember your facts.

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