At Agora Portals International School we have the secret to revise maths in a fun way in summer

We know that, on many occasions, maths is one of the subjects that children often reject the most. But have you ever stopped to think that, perhaps, going over them in an alternative way can get them hooked on numbers? At Agora Portals International School we have thought about it, and we think that the summer holidays are the perfect time to achieve this.

I hate mathematics! Surely in some context of your life you have come across this statement at least once. A statement that demonstrates the ‘hatred’ of mathematics and that is so common in society and has been so common throughout different generations that it has even attracted the attention of science. So much so that one or another scientific study seems to have found the origin of the so-called mathematical hatred that so many families have to deal with during the school year and the holidays.

According to the study Aspects of Children’s Mathematics Anxiety, carried out a few years ago by researcher Karen Newstead, this hatred is rooted in the stress and anxiety caused in young children by having to retain numerical understanding and the need to solve problems. But not because of a feared intellectual inadequacy that leads to not doing well, but because of the social pressure of having to prove they know how to do it in front of all their peers. “Make the children solve the operations on a blackboard, in front of all their peers,” said the author of the study.

Moreover, Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, says that the current teaching method does nothing to help students develop a taste for the subject. According to her point of view, the teaching of this subject is based too much on procedure and calculation and not enough on understanding, so students will repeat operations like a parrot without really understanding why they have to do them.

Reviewing maths through play

Taking these two expert contributions into account, we might think that including games in the learning of mathematics would be a good idea. We are not here to change any educational model, but we are here to give a series of recommendations for continuing to revise mathematical content during the summer holidays.

Although the children’s main task during these months must be to rest, we can take advantage of some downtime to awaken their love of numbers. How? By offering them some of the following games. They are suitable for families or for children of different ages, so there is no excuse to revise maths in summer!

  • Water operations: with the help of the children, we will collect a lot of small stones on which we will paint numbers. A number from 1 to 10 on each one. If we have 30, we will draw the numbers 1 to 10 three times. Then we will throw them all over the pool, trying to make them fall face down. Now we will ask the children to collect as many stones as possible in, for example, 20 seconds. When they come out, each one will add, subtract, multiply or divide (this is up to whoever sets the rules of the game) all the stones they have collected. The one with the highest score is the winner.
  • Looking through mathematical glasses: When you arrive at your holiday destination, ask your child to look around and identify all the geometric shapes in sight. They will then have to classify them together with you.
  • A worker with a lot of science: Are you going to the beach? He won’t forget his sand bucket, so let’s take advantage of the fact that he won’t let go of it during the whole stay to go over maths together. So let’s take advantage of the fact that he won’t let go of it during the whole stay to go over maths together. Have you noticed that your child wants to make the biggest sand castle in the world? Then ask him to calculate how many kilos of sand he will need on the basis that his bucket full of sand weighs 0.5 kilos. If he uses 20 cubes… how many kilos of sand will he have used?
  • Adding up number plates: if you find this game interesting, you run the risk of getting ‘hooked’ and continuing to play it for the rest of your life. Make the most of your car journeys to do mathematical calculations with the number plates of the vehicles you see around you on the road: how much do the four digits of the number plate of the car that has just passed you add up to? What if you add the first two digits and subtract the second two from the number plate of the car in front of you? The journey will be much more enjoyable!
  • How many steps do you have to take from home to the swimming pool? If your child has been learning numbers during the school year, you can take advantage of this short walk to ask him/her to count the number of steps needed to reach the destination.
13 / 08 / 21