Maths in the outdoors
Maths is a subject that some of us find challenging, and it will not be every child’s favourite subject or strong area. How can practitioners make it a fun learning experience for all?
Any subject can be taken outside and adapted to a new environment. Taking maths outside refreshes the subject, steering away from traditional textbooks and opening up a whole new and exciting dimension to maths that the kids will love!
Practitioners will see a change in the children as soon as they are outside, this new approach to learning will be exciting for the children and heighten their motivation and eagerness to learn. Practitioners will be aware that our environment offers opportunities for learning, and apply creative and imaginative tasks in which the children can apply knowledge they already have to the real world. A great activity for this is kite making. Encourage the children to create their own kites, an excellent shape activity, but allow them to explore the outdoor environment for materials to add to their kite, sticks can be gathered and filtered to find the right size to fit and support their kites. Finally, once the kites have been made, why not let the children try to fly their kites? You are outdoors after all!
Benefits of being outdoors
Whilst learning outside, children are benefiting from the fresh air and physical activity the environment offers. Practitioners can encourage group work for maths activities outdoors. Allow children to come together and apply thinking skills and problem solving as part of a group, all the while improving their maths skills, and also developing their social skills. An outdoor maths activity which practitioners could use in order to encourage group work is a treasure hunt. The children search for various mathematical pieces, for instance, shapes, hidden around their environment, or similarly, a number hunt, where children search for hidden numbers around the environment. Once all the numbers have been found children can apply their knowledge and put these numbers in order. Activities such as these enables the children to explore their curiosity, develop team building skills, further enhance their mathematical development and also gives them a great sense of independence.
Using the outdoor resources
There are limitless resources outdoors, the natural environment can be used as resources in maths activities well as bought in resources. An activity where children are able to explore their environment independently whilst using natural resources is searching for leaves. Allow the children to have fun finding leaves of all different sizes, shapes and colours, and bring them back to discuss the various shapes. Children can put the leaves in size order, counting how many leaves they have collected.
Bought-in resources can be another way to engage children in maths outdoors, as the resources often come in giant sizes which the children will enjoy learning with. These resources may be comical to the children and offer the opportunity for them to investigate with bigger materials, making a change from the resources they are used to within a classroom.
Overall, taking any lesson outdoors, refreshes the subject and is an enjoyable experience for the children. Practitioners will see excitement and motivation from the children and in turn, thoroughly enjoy the experience themselves. Learning maths outdoors is a way for children to transfer their classroom learning to the outdoors, but also for them to take this outdoor learning back into the classroom and apply it there.
More ideas in this book. Maths Outdoors:50 Starting Points for Outdoor Maths Experiences ( 50 exciting Things to Do)