Using Activities with Movement to Teach Math

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  • 0:04 Introduction to Learning
  • 1:08 Movement and Math
  • 2:11 Examples of Movement in Math
  • 3:30 Mathematical…
  • 5:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Movement in math is about teaching math concepts through the use of whole body movement activities. This strategy of teaching math actually supports the interdependent components of math proficiency and can aid learning and retention.

Introduction to Learning

How do we learn? Have you ever really thought about the biological process of learning? Have you heard people talking about 'making connections' with new information?

You can think of your mind like a super highway with electrical roads connecting to 'cities' of information. The more roads that lead to a set of information, the stronger the connection with that information. The stronger the connection, the easier the recall of that information. What is learning but storing information in our memory in such a way as to make recall easy? And, the more parts of the brain that are used when learning, the more connections there are to the piece of information. Just like in the real world, the more roads there are leading to a city, the easier it is to get to.

Let's explore ways to incorporate movement with math. Why? Well, movement requires brain activity, and the more active our brains are during learning, the stronger the connections with the new material. It is also true that the more active you are, the more alert are. By keeping students active and alert, they are in a much better position to internalize the mathematical concepts being presented.

Movement and Math

Children love to move; they are wiggly all day long. They can't wait for recess or lunch so they can get up and move. If teachers could harness that movement into academic benefit, think of the opportunities it would give.

Movement in math is an initiative aimed at getting students to use their whole bodies as they learn foundational math skills. This can take the form of synchronized clapping routines for skip counting (the foundations of multiplication tables) or even running around the classroom. By incorporating specific body motions with each math fact, the brain has at least two pathways to get to the information being stored.

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