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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Help for Jr. High Schoolers who Struggle with Math

Help for Jr. High Schoolers who Struggle with Math

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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I am a School Counselor so I don't have teaching experience but I am in the classrooms discussing topics with our students. I've noticed that several 7th graders lack basic Math skills and I'd like to work with them during our 30 minute/day homeroom period. I was thinking about using the old standard multiplication flashcards but the students also need help with subtraction, division, and fractions also. Can anyone tell the best way to shore-up their skills that isn't too "elementary" and will keep their attention? Thanks.

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Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Hello Randy:

Well, my experience with flashcards is that it won't keep attention of very many for very long! There are, however, many math games that work on basic skills that tend to keep students more engaged. Here are a few I can think of but there are tons more!

24 - Numbers are on a card. students come up with different ways the numbers can equal 24.

First In Math - A computer-base game that's a spin off of 24. You have to get a license for it but it can be a lot of fun!

Jeopardy - Make up math your own questions in different categories like the show. I've used index cards with the money on the question on one side and the money on the other. Then I just tape them to the chalkboard.

Bingo - I have several versions of Math "Bingo" games in my room that I inherited. I'm sure they're easy to purchase or you can make up your own.

Everyday Math curriculum - I don't know if your school uses this curriculum but there are a bunch of great games that go with it! Almost all of them you can use with basic playing cards. Check out their website.

Blackjack - OK, you can't gamble but it's a great game for basic addition and probability!

Digital Lessons.com - This website has a bunch of lessons, projects, and games: http://www.digitallesson.com/index.html

You could probably Google "math games" and come up with a ton of different ideas! Hope this helps!!

Erika

Kim's picture

Why not have the students pick a topic (like fractions) and create a lesson based on that? They can teach it to the class or in small groups. Is there an elementary school nearby? The students can tutor the younger kids; they love to do that and it helps out both the younger and the older students!
"Slap the Number" game is always popular - put a bunch of answers up on the whiteboard, have the kids get into teams (number off or whatever to get two groups). Each group then gets a flyswatter; you say a question, and whoever slaps the correct number first wins!

Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture
Heather Wolpert-Gawron
Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night
Blogger 2014

Randy,
Just remember that with middle school,a huge range of strategies work, from elementary to high school. Nothing too low, nothing too high because there's always a developmental range to cater to. I agree with Kim, however. Setting them up as teachers is vital in any middle school subject. It's not just about content, but also about communication.
Check in again, and tell us how it went!
-Heather WG

David S Markus's picture

I just ordered FasttMath which is a computer program to strengthen math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that responds to what they have done in the past, has games and gives good reports for teachers. Check it out.

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