Teaching math through art has been an excellent strategy to engage students in what can initially appear to be ‘dry’ concepts. The connection between the two is often overlooked when teaching math, but it has been reported it improves retention of key concepts.
Thus, our students have enjoyed challenging their inner ‘artist’ to complete two highly creative and hands-on STEAM activities that have challenged and engaged the learners in understanding the multiples and factors of numbers.
After students understood the underlying relationship between multiples and skip-counting, they were invited to create their own artistic versions of pattern snakes using various numbers aimed at challenging students to eventually identify patterns in the multiples of decimal numbers.
The students armed with their knowledge of contrast colours, a range of oil pastels and ink-dye wash created their beautiful pattern snake masterpieces.
In addition, students learnt that the factors of a number are numbers that can be divided without a remainder. For example, the factors of 6 are the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 6 & were able to get crafty and create these fantastic freaky factor aliens with plenty of arms and legs.
Every year, our students use Base Ten building blocks when learning place value. We know that without a thorough knowledge of place value, students have great difficulty succeeding in math, for it is the foundation for everything related to numbers.
To help students master this crucial concept, I invited the 5/6 students to practice with these blocks to develop their number sense in a creative way. After students understand the basics of how Base Ten building blocks represent numbers, I challenge them to channel their inner ‘architect’ and participate in the engineering process to design their own building. There were no rules for these creations and creativity is continually encouraged.
Once students have completed their creations, they had to determine the value of the creation based upon the Base Ten building blocks they used.
Our students have kicked off learning in financial math by participating in a range of creative, hands-on STEM learning challenges. In addition to the students using a range of ASIC Math Money Smart online resources (highly recommend) the students were given a range of shopping/design challenges.
For example, one challenge required the students to work out how to purchase 5 items from their shopping catalogs (physical & online) to get the LEAST amount of change from $50 and how to get the most value for their money with the MOST change.
Other challenges required the students to buy 10 items with a total amount that would be between $70 and $75, however, you can easily alter the value to suit individual needs.
Students then applied their understandings on how to complete a canteen order form to practice decimal addition to the hundreds place value with great success!
Note – One challenge the students really enjoyed involved finding 5 items to buy for their teacher! This was a brilliant way to build rapport with your students.