Educating children takes a team effort, students benefit significantly when there is an individual encouraging and expecting the child to be academically successful. Decades of research shows, that regardless of income and background, students succeed if there is a strong positive relationship between family and school. Students whose parents/guardians are involved in their schooling are more likely to:
- Have higher grades and test scores
- Attend school regularly
- Have better social skills
- Show improved behavior
- Adapt well to school
Setting up a family math event creates a positive outlook for everyone. Even when family involvement is described as minimal or poorly structured, it still makes a difference in students’ daily lives and their planning for the future. Remember that the first time organizing an event is always the most difficult. If it didn’t go exactly as planned, don’t quit. Reassess and try again.
HOW TO SET UP A MATH EVENT:
- DONATED GAMES: Contact a local retail store like Target or Walmart to see if they would be willing to donate a few math based games like: UNO, Blink, Playing cards, Phase 10, Skip-bo, SET, Spot it, Rat-a-tat Cat, Sequence Numbers. These are inexpensive games ranging around $10. Here are some other games you might consider. https://mangomath.com/20-math-gifts/ You can also ask children if they have some math games at home they can bring in.
- MAKE OWN GAMES: Create some of your own games by using a large graph paper, twister mat, blocks, jar of objects, pom poms etc. Here is a site with lots of games, many of them ones I created, years ago when I work for this non-profit as their curriculum director. https://zenomath.org/activities-page/
- Top Ideas
- Get small green pompoms and paper clips, have a frog hopping race, using paperclip (create a spring) to move frog. Person who goes furthest in three jumps wins
- Using 3 twister mats taped together mark numbers 1 – 12 in each circle. Roll large dice and add numbers together, student that selected that number moves one space. Determine which number has the greatest probability of winning
- Get a large jar, fill with candy, mini erasers, balls, pencils anything you want. Then have students estimate how many objects are in jar, closest number wins.
- Shape scavenger hunt. Have students look around for certain shapes in the area. Hexagons, triangles, rhombus, circle, squares, rectangles, trapezoids, cubes, cones, rectangular prisms, octagonal prisms etc.
- Build a city. Bring in cereal boxes and like, painters’ tape, butcher paper/construction paper, cars. Create a grid paper on floor using tape and allow students to build a town using boxes and construction paper. Have students determine shortest routes from one place to another. Determine if left turns only is true on saving time and money.
- PLAN A DATE: set a time and location that is easy for parents to attend. Invite them personally using invitations from their children. When family members feel invited and believe they have the knowledge and skills to support their children’s education, they will more readily engage in educational activities with their children. Parent involvement is an important part of any student’s academic experience, enlisting parent support in mathematics may present a greater challenge and a more conscientious effort on our part. Bring them in as a Math Champion, No Skills Required! As stated earlier, people can be intimidated by math but understand its importance. Invite them in to be a cheerleader and to be inquisitive. They don’t need to know the answers, just cheer their child as they go along. Allow them to explore with their child in a free, nonjudgmental setting.
- HAVE FOOD! Food makes everyone happier.
- TELL WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN MATH: Telling the parents what you are doing in math and how they can help. Inform parents that today’s mathematics content and instruction should look different from the mathematics they had in school. Research and experience demonstrate that high-quality mathematics instruction involves students in making sense of the mathematics they are doing, working together to solve challenging problems, using technology when appropriate, and communicating about their thinking. This explanation will offset any misguided notions that could undermine our work with students. Summarize the big mathematical ideas that the class will be exploring in the coming year. Be sure to put them in family-friendly language. If possible, include practical examples to emphasize real-world applications of the concepts—especially in higher-level courses.
MANGO Math is here to help. We have some great resource to include in math events. Our games are prepackaged and ready to use so parent and child and play the games together.