The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for Math

The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for Math

The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for Math

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_FUN-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathAs we talked about in a previous blog post, experiential learning—or learning by doing—helps students to better retain what they learn and appreciate the real-world relevance of the subjects with which they engage. Math in particular is one subject that gives many students anxiety. What’s more is that especially in higher-level math classes, far too many students find themselves wondering when they’ll ever need to use what they’re learning in real life. Experiential learning activities for math are an effective way to help students overcome their math anxiety, understand the real-life usefulness of what they’re learning, and most importantly, have fun while learning math. In this blog post, we go over different hands-on math activities for elementary, middle, and high school-aged students. These activities can be integrated into the classroom curriculum or can be done outside of school.

Elementary School

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_GirlGardening-200x300 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathGrowing a Garden: Have the children plant seeds in a garden and tend to the seeds by watering them daily. Each day, they can use a ruler to determine the height of their plant and calculate how much the plant has grown each day. Continue this activity until the plant has reached its full length, and have the children calculate the total amount of growth over the duration of the project.

Making a Clock: Using a paper plate, construction paper, a metal fastener, and crayons or markers, have the students make a clock on which they can practice telling time.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Toys-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathOrganizing Toys: This is a fun way not only to keep organized, but to learn about categorization. Have the students practice organizing their toys by categorizing them by different traits, whether it be color, shape, function, or type of toy.

Baking a Cake: Baking is a sweet and tasty way to practice following directions, measuring ingredients, and keeping track of time. To make it more fun and challenging, you can also practice doubling the recipe for extra sweetness. Once the cake is fresh out of the oven, reinforce the children’s fraction skills by having them cut it (carefully, of course)!

Math Memory: In a traditional memory game, you are supposed to remember the placement of cards so that you can find matches. The idea is to collect the most matched pairs. In this modified memory game, instead of matching two of the exact same cards, have the students match a math problem with a solution. This enhances not only memory skills, but also arithmetic skills.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Candy-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathCandy Graph: Survey the students on their favorite candy, then have them make a pie chart or bar graph of the results. This is another fun and sweet way to learn about percentages and statistics.

Sunrise and Sunset: Have the students look up the times of the sunrise and sunset in the newspaper, then use these times to calculate the “length of day.”

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Beads-300x300 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathJewelry Making: Provide the students with string and beads. Have them create an alternating color pattern with two or three colors and make a beaded necklace according to that pattern.

Symmetrical Designs: Have the students draw one half of an object or a design. Then have them exchange papers with another student, who will complete the drawing by making the symmetrical other half.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Cupcakes-300x199 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathStudent-Run Bake Sale: This is a great opportunity to combine baking skills from the cake baking activity above with business skills. Students can contribute homemade items and price them appropriately. Have them practice making change and other money management skills as they execute the bake sale.

Middle School

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_TV-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathTV Time: Do a class-wide survey of the number of hours a day that the students spend watching TV. Chart the results and have the students calculate range, mean, median, and mode.

Human Graph: Clear out the classroom or find an empty space outside. Use duct tape to create an x and y axis and label them with the integers. Present the students with a linear equation. Each student would represent a point on the line. Have the students work together to represent the linear equation on the graph with their bodies.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Dice-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathDice Probability: Students can learn about probability concepts by rolling dice. To make this activity more fun and challenging, consider adding more dice and having the students determine how the number of dice will affect certain outcomes.

Integer Card Game: Students will work in pairs using a deck of flashcards, each with integers written on them. The integers will range from -20 to 20. Divide the deck in half. Each student will get one half. Have the students pick two cards from their pile and add the integers on their two cards. Whoever has the higher total gets to keep all 4 cards. Keep going until all the cards have been used. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins. You can modify the game by using subtraction instead of addition.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Cards-253x300 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathExponent Card Game: This game is nearly identical to the integer card game above. However, instead of using flashcards, you will use a traditional deck of cards. This time, when each student picks their two cards, the first card will be the base, and the second card will be the exponent. Whoever has the higher product gets to keep all 4 cards. As with the integer card game, keep going until all the cards have been used. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins.

Decimal/Fraction/Percent Squares: Provide the students with a 10 x 10 grid. Each small square represents .01, 1/100, or 1%. Give the students instructions as to what decimal, fraction, or percent of the grid should be a specific color. Students can use markers, crayons, or colored pencils to color in the grid as they wish according to the instructions provided. This is an opportunity for them to exercise their creativity while learning about decimals, fractions, and percentages.

Temperatures Around the World: Have students look up high and low temperatures in different cities around the world and calculate ranges and averages both within and across cities. This will give them practice working with positive and negative integers. It is also a fun way to integrate geography education into a lesson about integers.

High School 

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Drawing-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathMandala Making: This is a fun and creative way for students to apply their knowledge of different geometrical concepts. Provide whatever parameters you wish with which students can make their own mandalas. This is also a great way to reduce stress—something to which high school students are no stranger!

Pythagorean Theorem LEGO Proof: According to the Pythagorean theorem, the sum of the squares of the two short sides of a right triangle equal the square of the hypotenuse. You can use three different LEGO pads to actually illustrate this concept.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Basketball-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathWatch a Basketball Game: This is a fun activity to engage the athletic students in the room. Students can use their understanding of independent and conditional probability to determine the probability of a win, loss, or tie.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_Casino-300x225 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathClassroom Casino: Turn the classroom into a casino! Set up different stations with different casino games. Instead of using money, they can “gamble” with prizes or with tokens representing extra credit points. Students can apply their knowledge of different probability concepts to increase their chances of winning the big bucks—or rather the big points!

Dance Party: In this lesson, the use of personal electronic devices is encouraged! Students will use the “Shuffle” feature of their iTunes playlist to understand the process of randomness. In particular, they can calculate the total number of song permutations and combinations using the Fundamental Counting Principle.

Blog74_ExperientialLearningMath_BoyPlayingFrisbee-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Learning Activities for MathFrisbee in the Park: Take your calculus lesson outside by playing some frisbee in the park. This is a fun, active, hands-on way of understanding projectile and parabolic motion and the different factors affecting it.

What do you think of the above ideas? Have any of your own to add? If you are interested in discussing hands-on teaching ideas, tutoring other students in math, or getting some extra math help, you’ll want to check out Konversai. Konversai is an online learning platform that connects providers of knowledge and seekers of knowledge on any and all topics of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. Whatever it is that you’re looking to teach or learn, be it math, French, tap dance, ultimate frisbee, DIY projects, coding, pet care, making pasta from scratch, tips and tricks for traveling in Australia, or something else entirely, Konversai is the place to do it. All users are encouraged to be both providers and seekers of knowledge on any and as many topics as they wish, and knowledge providers are encouraged to charge as much as they want for their time. Whether you are on the platform as a knowledge provider, knowledge seeker, or both, you are sure to have an enriching experience with Konversai. Konversai’s mission is to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into the heart of technology, and make the world better by enabling meaningful and authentic conversations that can improve people’s lives. Join in on the fun by signing up for Konversai today!




By Pavita Singh

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