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Hands-on math activities for middle school can make math lessons so much easier. Practicing new skills through hands-on learning increases retention by 50% compared to just listening to a lesson. That means it takes less time and effort to actually increase learning. That is a win in my book!
People tend to think that hands-on activities are just for little ones, but that just isn’t true. High school and college students have internship opportunities. When I was in college I completed multiple practicums for my psychology and education classes, in addition to a semester-long student teaching assignment. That is basically real-life hands-on learning!
Hands-On Math Activities for Middle School
This math supplement is a way to teach algebraic concepts using pawns, number cubes, and a paper balance scale.
I bought the Hands-On Equations Learning System for my daughter when she was getting frustrated with her Math Mammoth pre-algebra lessons. The explanations and practice problems just were not clicking. When my kids get frustrated, I try to slow down and take a different approach. For a few weeks I put Math Mammoth to the side and we focused on getting a solid understanding of algebra.
There are multiple options available and it can seem a little confusing at first:
- Hands-On Equations Learning System – It is meant for one teacher and one student. This is the best choice for a homeschool family.
- Hands-On Equations Class Set – This is intended for one teacher and ten students, making this a great option for homeschool co-ops. Additional student kits are available for larger classes.
The program starts off very simple with equations such as x+2=9 and slowly progresses, over the course of 25 lessons, to problems like 2x-2(-x+4)=x +(-2).
Each lesson begins with an explanation and a few sample problems from the teacher booklet. From there the student moves on to the worksheet. The worksheet problems are solved by using the pawns and number cubes on the balance scale. Students then check the problems themselves by plugging their answer into the equation. Each worksheet includes a mix of old and new problems.
My daughter’s algebra proficiency has improved greatly since using Hands-On Equations, but so has her math confidence. It took almost no time at all before she breathed a sigh of relief and I could practically see the light bulb appear above her head.
The Carson Dellosa Interactive Notebooks: Math are similar to a lapbook. There are multiple grade levels, including grades 6, 7, and 8 for traditional middle school grades.
This book was one of our very first hands-on math activities for middle school. I discovered the series last year while looking for a math supplement for the end of the year. My daughter had finished her planned math curriculum, but there was enough time left in the school year that I didn’t want to just stop doing math. These activities acted like a review. They would also be great used in conjunction with another math curriculum.
The way it works is that first you make a copy of the student page. The book is printed on both sides of the page, so making a copy is necessary. My printer makes copies, so this step is easy. Then the student cuts out the pieces and glues them in a separate math notebook. We used a standard spiral bound notebook. The teacher page has instructions to help the student practice the skill.
Each grade level includes a few pages for:
- the number system
- ratios and proportional relationships
- expressions and equations
- statistics and probability
- additional reproducibles (pockets, flap books, puzzle pieces, etc.
The math workstations in this book will make great review activities. I ordered it for my kids to use this summer. We don’t typically do formal math lessons during the summer, but I like my kids to practice to keep their skills sharp. My son is just about to finish 5th grade, so he might need a little extra help . . . or my daughter can teach him and strengthen her understanding in the process.
Each workstation will require a bit of prep from the teacher, mostly setting up the materials and explaining the objective and directions.
The activities include this book include:
- Dodge the Zombie
- Linking Cube Equations
- Graphing Growing Patterns
- Data Detective
- Greatest Common Factor Bingo
- Integer Battle
- And more!
Do you include hands-on math activities in your homeschool? Share your ideas in the comments!
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