One of the reasons why many students struggle with maths is because of how theoretical it gets. By adding some fun outdoor maths activities, students can warm up to the subject, pay more attention and remain engaged longer.
If you’re thinking of switching things up to get your children to see maths differently and have some fun while at it, here are some great outdoor maths-related activities that you can try out.
Number bounce and shoot
This is an excellent activity to carry out if you’re looking for something you can do right outside your home without spending a penny. You will need a ball, chalk, concrete ground and a target.
You can write maths equations or numbers on the ground using chalk. You can ask the students to answer a maths question or identify a number you call out. The student runs to the number, bounces the ball the number of times represented by the number and then shoots the target. The target can be a big circle drawn on the wall.
The sandpit at the park is another fun place to learn some math. You can hide fun objects for counter or answers to sums on a worksheet. The students have dig out the right numbers or answers to the equations. When taking to the sandpit, don’t be afraid of a little mess. It’s the perfect place for learning.
Count passing cars
Here’s something simple that kids will love. It’s great for learning and also makes an incredible pass time. Step out to the pavement on the side of a road near the school or your home. Make sure you observe all the safety regulations at all times.
The students can count the cars as they pass. You can make it even more challenging by having them note down the colour of the vehicles as they pass and categorising them. You can then create a maths quiz based on the data collected by the students. Some interesting questions include:
- What was the colour of the 11th car that passed?
- If buses are worth two and cars are worth one, how many cars equal five buses?
You can reinforce recognition of shapes by challenging the class to find items that replication common shapes outdoors.
You can give the student a list of shapes varying in the number of sides and ask them to tick them off as they find them. For advanced learners, you can incorporate 3D shapes and give them a more challenging list.
Giant number line
A giant number can teach a number sense, addition, subtraction, skip-counting, spatial relationship, multiplication and mental maths. Giant number lines are perfect for students in their early academic years.
Number lines are loads of fun and easy to set up. You just need a piece of chalk to create the number line beginning with zero then let them jump, play, explore and count.
You don’t need to go to the park or have loads of space for this. Just an old frisbee and a permanent marker. Write numbers around the edge of the frisbee, then throw the frisbee to your partner. Encourage them to catch it with both hands. The catcher needs to find the sum, product, difference or quotient of the numbers each hand is touching. For younger kids, you can make the game simpler.
Number throw is another fun game that only needs chalk and a ball. Write numbers on the ground that are answers to simple questions. Ask a math question for example 7 + 5 and have the students throw a ball at the right answer. You can also use a bean bag instead of a ball.
If you’re introducing the student to angles, you can make a template of the hunt and then go out and about to see if the children can spot the correct angles. For more advanced classes, you can also try to have the students take accurate measurements of angles on the playground.
Playground problem questions
You can get students to see their playground in a different way using this activity. Write some word problems that require the student to explore the outdoors to find the answers to every question. These questions can include, how many legs does a picnic table have?
There’s plenty that nature has to offer to help with learning maths. Grass, sticks, and flowers are great tools to practice measurement. The pupils can measure the height and length of different items and record them. You can also set out challenges like finding the longest stick.
Students don’t always have to be couped in a class when learning maths. You can break the monotony once in a while and let them explore maths in the great outdoors using these activities.