How to Create Fantastic Math Lesson Plans

Rather than assuming math as a subject, we should consider it as an application of matter. It is because we can learn the methodical approach in thinking for facing day to day problems in our life by implementing the mathematical rules. Mathematics helps us making our lives organized and prevents us from pandemonium. Being respectful to the basic rules of mathematics sculpt the power of coherent and logical thinking, imagination, spatial reasoning and even efficient communicating ability in one’s ideological core, which in turn can make any human being hailed from any stratum of life an asset – to his or her family, country and even for the whole world over.

Mathematics is everywhere in our lives. A farmer, mechanic, carpenter, doctor, shopkeeper, economist, magician, musician or even a cook – I can go on writing all the possible professions out there in the modern world and there will be none I can find who wouldn’t be needing mathematics in their everyday money-making trades.  

Mother Nature and her children in our surroundings and in the wilderness base and thrive on following the mathematical principles to the letter and it is obvious everywhere we look. Math is the most important thread for fabricating the very essence of our existence.

Usually, teachers in educational institutes bear the brunt of braiding the students to steer effortlessly in the world of numbers. Though, nowadays many tuition providers in the country are stepping up to help the teachers easing their workload by providing maths tuition.

So, it is a sacred duty for the teachers ranging from elementary schools to universities to make mathematics enjoyable for the students.   I have to say this again, we – the teachers – should always encourage the students to accept math as an approach rather than a subject that dabbles with dry, humorless numbers. Numerous studies and/or research has already been done about how to create fantastic math lesson plans and it’s an ongoing topic that would be worked on by many future researchers.    

The question of how to create fantastic mathematical lesson plans has no inviolable answer – a fantastic math lesson plan can be as varied in scope, structure, content, and delivery as the degree of difference in teachers and classrooms – potentially infinite! You won’t find any ‘one size fits all’ solution and every idea that works wonders for a particular class may be proven absolutely disastrous for another.

Another issue should always be kept in mind that one fine fantastic math lesson can’t exist on its own, it will merely be a continuation of an eternal process. Each singular lesson is a stepping stone to walk further and a part of a broader topic. That’s why a good math lesson is essentially a chunk of a sequence of lessons learned continually.

So instead of creating the fantastic math lesson plans, let’s first look at the very foundations on which a truly beautiful math lesson can be delivered:

Using ‘Warm-up’ or Ignition Activities: the idea behind this is simply help the students ‘jumpstart’ thinking mathematically. It can be done in various ways – games, simple open-ended problems, looping activities, etc. These short, simple activities should be kept easily accessible, inclusive of all students and they don’t have to be directly related to studies.

Teaching Explicitly: it would be an excellent idea to spend a few minutes every class in introducing new ideas or recollecting existing concepts. And students have to be participating as the teacher needs to ask questions in a conversational way so that the students won’t feel pressurized.

Practicing Efficiently:  practicing similar examples/prompts, one-to-one and/or group tutoring, etc. are a few ways which can make practice math efficiently without ever creating boredom.

Covering Context: covering the relevant content with proper depth of lecturing the topics in the stipulated time is always a challenge for a math teacher in any level of education. If and when these primary objectives can be achieved, it paves the way for the teacher to go for creating attractive mathematics lesson plans. A few tips for achieving this might be as follows:

  • Start with the syllabus document as your guide
  •  Commencing new topics in mathematics 
  •  Use a good scope and sequence 
  •  Be confident in your own understanding of the content
  •  Always try to find some ways in which the math you are teaching relates to the real world 

The above are only a few ideas to set the ground rules to create and execute entertaining math lesson plans that not only get the message across but also help students love mathematics.

I will try to demonstrate just how that approach can be exercised in practice:

Flying Airplanes Made by Papers: the idea here is to let the students make their own versions of flying machines. Usually, this idea works well when students work in groups.

During the lesson, the students are shown a number of different versions of flying machines and if needed, instructions are given simply to build anything resembling a flying object. They will then build the planes together and told to throw their planes as far as they possibly can. The teams will be competing with each other and the winner will be selected based on how far their plane flew off. The winning team can be given candy as prizes.

After that, the members of the winning team will calculate the distance it’s traveled from the starting point and the time it took to do that. When they have these data, they will be provided the time by the teacher and then the whole class will be taught how to calculate speed.

Trigonometry with Spaghetti: some really complicated (!) equipment is needed for this method to be introduced to the students – a graph paper, a blank unit circle, a glue stick, a protractor and the most important item – spaghetti noodles.

At first, the students need to label the unit circle axis (-1 and 1’s) and the trig graph X-axis (0 degrees to 360 degrees).  After that, using a piece of spaghetti, have to mark the unit distance from the origin to 15 degrees to the X-axis. They should stick it down and name the angle.

Then using another piece, they need to measure the Y-coordinate (sin (X)) of the point on the circle. After that, this piece is needed to be placed on the trig graph vertically above the 15 degrees mark. This whole process is needed to be done until the full 360 degrees are covered.  Then the same thing needs to be completed for X-coordinate (cos (X)).

This is an excellent demonstration to make the students learn how to predict the graph past 15 degrees.

The above are only two examples of how our discussing idea can be made a reality.  And as I mentioned earlier, every teacher has to work their own fantastic math lesson plan on their own to suit their students.

Sincerity, experiment, deep understanding about the topic, research and above all love for mathematics itself can make a teacher come up with unique ideas that will enable his students to love mathematics and realize their full potentials.

So, my dear fellow teachers, never stop trying.

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