Everything makes more sense …. well, when it makes sense!
& so having said that, it is important to make math lessons and activities relevant to the learner. When students see connections and real world applications they are better able to understand concepts. They can apply concepts to novel situations, make connections, and extend activities when the understand the “whens, wheres, whys and the hows” of what we teach. They engage in activities with greater confidence. They play more and take greater risks.
Here are some ways that we try to math relevant to the learner:
1. When introducing a new concepts have students go on a scavenger hunt. They must find examples of the “concept” (e.g. where do they see it, hear about it, where is it applied, etc.) in their world.
2. Read, share, read, share and read some more: There are some great picture books out there to share with students at all grade levels
(e.g. http://bit.ly/IaAQY3 & http://bit.ly/tSzLD7 & http://bit.ly/Hro1og )
3. Students write stories based on current classroom Math concepts.
5. Use sports statistics in math class! Visit this site out for some great resources: http://bit.ly/I9K0p0
6. Use free grocery store flyers in math class. Issue a challenge: Give students a set amount of money and have them shop for a family meal, a birthday party, etc. Calculate the total & the change. We conduct similar activities with take-out menus, restaurant menus, car sales magazines, toy store flyers, etc.
7. Students write their own math word problems to share with the class. Trade them, play with them.
Of course this is just a starting point.
Please share your making-math-relevant-ideas!