Earlier this month I presented at a Professional Development Day for Head Start teachers on Early Numeracy. We touched on a concept that certainly could fill an entire day, “Math Walks”. This is a great teaching strategy that can be effective from toddlers through adulthood. If you look around the room or through the window, math concepts are everywhere. I promised my Head Start colleagues that I would post a cheat sheet on “Math Walk” basics. So here you go Head Start friends, have fun!
What is a “Math Walk”?
A “Math Walk” is a planned walk with sites along the way to show students math concepts. It encourages students to ask and answer questions. It’s an opportunity to take kids out of the classroom to “see” math. It is an active learning strategy to keep kids moving and of course talking!
Top 10 Benefits of Math Walks
- Can be done anywhere, anytime and with anyone
- Easy to prepare
- Opens children’s eyes to the world around them
- Helps kids see and understand math concepts
- Gets kids actively learning
- Gives multiple opportunities to solve problems
- Encourages communicating thoughts and ideas
- Builds confidence and a willingness to try
- Can be tailored to meet children’s abilities
- Promotes FUN in learning!
“Math Walks” give students and teachers opportunities to see and talk about math terms in everyday conversations. Start a checklist using the following terms and see how many you use during your walks.
similar, different, compare, pattern, repeating pattern, rectangle, shape, square, circle, triangle, line, shapes, estimate, large, small, short, tall, equal, not equal, measure, distance
Questioning is Key Important During “Math Walks”
Depending on students’ interests and abilities, questions can be prepared to discuss counting, number sense, measurement and geometry. Open-ended questioning gives students opportunities to solve problems and develop language. The possibilities of “Math Walks” are endless.
Geometry & Measurement
- Can we find any shapes in the buildings? Squares, rectangles etc.
- Can you name the shape?
- Do you see any shapes in the buildings, ground, cars that pass by?
- Do you see any patterns?
- How tall is the tree?
- How can we measure an item?
Number Sense and Counting
- How many windows do you see in our classroom?
- Can you find an object that is approximately one foot long?
- Estimate which item is bigger, smaller, shorter, taller
- Can you find a specific number of things? Ex. Three windows?
TRY THIS NOW: Sample Math Walk: Take a look at the photo in this blog.
- Estimate how many small mailboxes there are?
- How many mailboxes are there all together?
- Look at each mailbox, are there any other shapes on the box? What shapes are there?
- Is the circle bigger than a quarter, dime, nickel or penny?
- Do you see any other Math symbols on the mailbox? What do you see?
- How many columns are in the structure? How many rows?
- How many mailboxes are in each column? Row?
- What shape is each mailbox? How do you know?
- What size is the mailbox? Can you measure it?
- What is the shape of all the mailboxes added together in each column? Row?
- Tell me something is taller than each mailbox? Shorter?
- Are all the mailboxes together taller than you? Shorter than you? Taller/shorter than mommy?
Teachers: Don’t forget to add “Math Walks” to your plan books
“Math Walks” are not an “extra” in your lesson planning. “Math Walks” meet important NCTM Process Standards.
- Recognizing and applying mathematics
- Communicating mathematical thinking
- Analyzing and evaluating the mathematical thinking of others
- Making and using connections among mathematical ideas
Finally, one of the keys to creating a positive learning experience is motivating students. Try a “Math Walk” today and “see math” through the eyes of your students. Enjoy the walk!
Check out: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) https://www.nctm.org/ccssm/
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As an online learning community, could you please share your thoughts and/or experiences about “Math Walks” in the Comments Sections below?