One of the main reasons why so many secondary school and even university students find it hard to master math concepts is that they lack a solid foundation when it comes to numeracy skills. Mathematics is essentially an incremental subject, which means students are required to develop certain abilities as they progress through various grade levels.
Numeracy skills are among the necessary abilities students should acquire and develop as early as their primary school years. Unfortunately, primary and secondary teachers do not always have time to help every student master basic numeracy skills or do formal review lessons with them. In that case, enrolling your child in math tuition, where fundamental lessons on numbers are discussed, could help.
Furthermore, there are several enrichment activities that your child can do in school or at home to help them strengthen their skills. Here are some of the most exciting and engaging math activities that can help students –whether primary or secondary – develop their numeracy skills over time.
For Primary Learners
Sorting and categorising objects help children comprehend the nature of mathematics. To do a fun counting activity, collect a box or basket of toys, cut out numbers from newspapers and magazines, or use number tiles and ask your child to place the numbers in various orders. Aside from this, you can convince your child to count various household items, such as coins, bottles, and buttons. While this may sound silly, it can help build your child’s numerical skills.
2. Number facts
Number games like "ping pong" can help strengthen your child's knowledge of number bonds. For example, if you state an initial number, your child would respond with the pair to 10, 20, or 100, and so on. You can also encourage your kid to maximise their knowledge of smaller bonds, such as 8 + 2 = 10, to be able to calculate bigger complementary bonds like 80 + 20 = 100.
3. Real-life activities
One of the most effective ways to help sharpen children's numeracy skills is to make them learn from real-life activities. For example, you can utilise a television guide and get your child to compute the duration of their favourite shows. They can also compute the amount of time they spend watching these shows over weeks or days. Additionally, to help enhance your child's mathematical reasoning, you can use train and bus timetables. Ask your kid to calculate travel times and intervals between departure times.
For Secondary Learners
1. The hundred challenge
The hundred challenge is a stimulating math activity that enables students to apply their basic skills in math to come up with equations that equal every digit between 1 and 100. However, in this game, the students can only make use of four digits the teacher or their parent supplies, such as 2, 5, 7, and 9. Here are the rules of the game:
The students must use all four digits in every equation.
In every equation, each digit may only be used once.
The students can utilise any mathematical operation (i.e., addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) as well as exponents, radicals, and the like to come up with the equations.
The digits can be combined together to create new digits (e.g. 2 and 5 may be combined to form 25 or 52), decimals (e.g. 7 and 9 may be combined to form 7.9 or .79), fractions (e.g. 2 and 9 may be combined to form 2/9 or 9/2), and so on.
2. Cryptarithmetic puzzles
Cryptarithmetic puzzle is a puzzle game wherein alphabet letters are used to replace digits. The game's objective is to let the students solve the puzzle by identifying the digit for every letter. Here are the rules for this unique puzzle-based game:
Every letter should represent a digit between 0 and 9. One letter cannot represent several digits, and one digit cannot be represented by numerous letters.
Numbers should not start with a zero.
The puzzle should only consist of one solution.
To help the students sharpen their numeracy skills even further, teachers or parents can challenge them to come up with their own cryptarithmetic puzzles and have their classmates or peers solve the puzzle. This will help enhance their skills and motivate them to build a sense of participation at the same time.
3. Expression or equation of the day
This activity is quite simple to do – simply put a small board in front of the class or anywhere in your house with an expression or equation of the day. For instance, you may write the date in an odd way, and ask the students or your children to guess the date. So, rather than writing April 28, 2023, you can write April 3(x – 23) = 15, 2023, and ask them to solve the equation in order to find out the date.
After they have solved the equation, ask your students or children to come up with at least two mathematical equations or expressions that have the same solution. Generally, this activity is an excellent way to give math students some opportunities to apply their mathematical skills and help them boost their abilities to create and solve multi-step math equations and expressions.
Having strong numeracy skills or being good at numbers will help your child excel in their math class and bring them numerous advantages in various fields. If you think your child still needs to sharpen their numeracy skills, you can try the activities mentioned above to make the learning process easier and more exciting for them. Ultimately, learning math does not have to be boring. Fun activities can help your child overcome their math anxiety and master the subject relatively easily.
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