This happens to more people than you may think. Maths anxiety is real. Some people look at a Maths problem and it's like their brain shuts down. The problem with this, is it starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more anxious you feel about the Maths, the less you are able to concentrate and apply your higher order cognitive skills, so the worse you do at it and the more anxious you feel about it.
As a teacher, I feel that it's really important to be aware of this. There are probably a few, if not many, students in your class who feel this way about the subject, so one of my roles as their teacher has to be to try and minimise the fear.
There are a number of ways that I try to do this, but I'm going to share my favourite one with you today: Maths disguised as Art. In the same way that moms hide veggies in their kids' food to get more green in their diet, I like to hide Maths in Art to get more of the Maths skills into my students' days.
Here are some ideas to get you started
These hot-air balloons are an awesome way to teach measurement because there is so much involved. Learners use their rulers to measure strips of coloured paper to specific widths. All of the strips have to be the same width or the balloon looks strange, so accuracy is important. Students also need to measure how much of the strip will be stuck to the paper.
Use something like a habit tracker to teach fractions (and goal setting). Students colour in the days they were able to complete goal. At the end of the month, they can do an analysis of what fraction of the month they were able to stick to their goals.
Students can also practise their compass skills by drawing the concentric circles themselves.
This idea from Pre-School Mom provides an opportunity to work on patterns, space and shape and reflections. You can read more about it and get a few freebies here: https://preschoolmom.com/pattern-blocks/pattern-block-symmetry-mats/
For older students, have a look here: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/learning-about-symmetry/
Provide students with a centimetre grid paper and give them an opportunity to design:
- A floor plan for their dream house
- A floor plan of the classroom
- A rug or carpet for the classroom with an intricate pattern (extend students by challenging them to create a differently shaped rug -e.g. butterfly - and calculate its area)
- a robot
- a garden of flowers
For each design, students can calculate the area and/or perimeter. You could also incorporate fractions or 2D shapes.
You can have a look here for a Project-Based-Learning pack of resources for house design: https://teachingresources.co.za/product/project-based-learning-if-i-built-a-house/
Do you have any Math Art projects that you enjoy doing with your class? Please share them below.