3 Easy Ways to Spice Up Your Secondary Math Lessons
Are your students tuned out? Eyes glazed over? Are you tired of students complaining about the classwork you give them? BUT, are you just a little nervous about trying an “activity”? Afraid that if the students get out of their seats or talk to each other that mass chaos could break out just as the principal walks by?! That’s how I used to feel, too, before I discovered three easy ways to mix up my normal routine and/or get the kiddos up and moving around (and still working hard)! I’d like to talk to you today about mazes, scavenger hunts, and coloring pages.
Now, I realize these topics might surprise you since this is a secondary math classroom post, but don’t give up just yet. I was a-mazed at how much my high schoolers liked these activities and…..actually……began…..to…..request….them! So, here’s a brief run down of each type of activity.
Mazes are great. I like to call them “worksheets in disguise” because that’s really all they are is a worksheet. Having your students try some mazes is a great place to start if you are just starting to branch out from the ol’ “worksheets and book work” routine. The procedure for a maze is really the same as a worksheet: you hand it out, students complete it, you collect it or go over it. But,
somehow, students see it differently. It’s formatted differently, it might have pictures on it, they get to color or shade in as they go, and they have a purpose for completing the problems(get from start to finish). I like mazes that have a fun theme to go with them as well. I think it helps the students forget they are doing math practice, but instead helping the monkey find his bananas, or whatever. Here are some great mazes to check out for middle and high school topics.
Coloring pages for middle and high school?! YES! Am I the only high school teacher whose students had coloring books in their backpacks and would pull them out when they had a free moment and start coloring?! I kept thinking, isn’t that an activity for elementary students?! Apparently not. So, take what they like to do anyway and give it a math twist! Coloring pages don’t have to be super intricate or time consuming. They can especially be fun around a holiday or before a break. Isn’t it better to have them practicing math and doing a little bit of coloring instead of watching a movie on the last day before break? Or on a day when you have to be out of the
classroom? These are also like “worksheets in disguise” since they have an actual worksheet component, but just with an added picture to color based off the work students complete. These are very low prep on your part and easy to see if students are doing their work correctly, since you can just glance at the picture and see if the items are colored correctly. These are a few great middle school coloring pages, some of which offer two levels of differentiation as well! Double bonus!