Every child grasps math concepts in a way that is consistent with his or her personality. Some children are completely engaged by worksheets while others need the hands-on reinforcement that manipulatives and life experiences provide. Because my children too have a variety of learning styles, I am always on the lookout for ways to stimulate and challenge them.
One of the products we've recently utilized is publisher, Weekly Reader's, series of math workbooks called Math
Skill Builders. These reproducible books help build essential math skills and concepts in a way that connects math with other curriculum areas such as science, social studies, health, the arts, geography, and consumer math. They teach critical thinking about math, help the child develop skills in interpreting and using data, and improve problem-solving skills.
Math Skill Builders, Grades 2-3 will appeal to second and third-graders because the brief and lively articles cover topics of interest to this age group: tigers, mountain climbing, penguins, storms, coral reefs, Chinese New Year, the solar system, and many more. There really seems to be an article of interest to almost any student.
Following each article are math problems appropriate to the grade level. For example, following an article about Thanksgiving traditions, there is a table showing the weights of record-breaking pumpkins. Students learn to read the chart and then answer questions such as, "Between which two consecutive years was there the greatest increase in the weights of record-breaking pumpkins?"
Another chart following the article shows the sale prices of typical Thanksgiving foods. Students are then asked, "How much will it cost to buy a 9-pound pumpkin?" and, "Nick buys 6 ears of corn and a pumpkin pie. He pays with a $10 bill. What bills and coins should he receive in change?"
The questions may stretch the skills of some students, but this is exactly what we need to give our kids when it feels as if math is one long never-ending drill sheet. I see my own children's interest piqued by the engaging articles, and I can see the wheels turning in their young minds as they wrap their brains around problems that ask more of them than the memory work of math facts.
Keeping math fresh and exciting makes my students far more eager to dig in!