Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you: it’s always a good idea to have interesting facts, a fun game, and the latest tech up your sleeve for when students’ motivation needs a boost.
Math class is no exception, and now is the perfect time to take a closer look.
My students taught me that October is a delicate part of the life-cycle of a school year. On one hand, kids have settled into routines and are getting the hang of things, which is great.
On the other hand, a crop of fresh, engaging activities is necessary to prevent back-to-school burnout without disrupting what’s working. Picture Indiana Jones trying to move an artifact without triggering traps, and that’s basically what needs to happen in October!
With so many students learning at home full-time or via a hybrid model, more families are taking on increased responsibility for their child’s education, aka stepping into teachers’ shoes.
A “love it or hate it” reputation can plague math classes in K-12, and we get it. Moving the needle to “math is awesome, love it!” territory seems like an uphill battle. Many students could use a morale boost right about now, just as many families could use some resources to help their child learn math and actually enjoy it.
That’s exactly why we’ve put together the ultimate starter kit of fascinating math facts, cool math games, and free, fun math apps to spark your student’s interest and get them excited to learn more.
9 amazing facts about math that will intrigue
1. Proof is easier said than done.
Sure, your student knows 1+2 = 2. But nothing is taken for granted in the math world. Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell wrote a 362-page proof to definitively show this mathematical fact. If your student is struggling to show their work, this factoid might encourage them to do so!
2. Math is everywhere, even in nature!
The famous Fibonacci sequence is in full bloom in sunflowers and other natural phenomena. Its spiral shape determines the number of petals in flowers, and its geometry can be found in pineapple, cauliflower, and broccoli.
3. It’s a very good thing numbers were invented.
It took centuries, 16 of them to be precise, to develop most of the mathematical symbols we see today. Up until then, numbers were represented in their full written word form. Students doing homework problems today will surely appreciate this development!
4. A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time.
A “jiffy” comprises 1/100th of a second. Can you believe it? Either way, I bet you can't say "be back in a jiffy" again and not think about this little factoid.
5. The “Golden Ratio“ creates beautiful art, music, and architecture.
When asked, “when will I need to know this?”, look to the “Golden Ratio” for a real-world answer. From the Pyramids of Giza, to Mozart’s sonatas, to the Mona Lisa, artists, musicians, and architects have utilized the “golden ratio,” approximately 1.618 between two quantities, to create amazing masterpieces.
6. With math, you can travel the world.
Without once leaving Egypt, Eratosthenes estimated the Earth’s circumference using math, and he was within 2% accuracy.
7. "One hundred" is actually 120, because words + math = confusion.
English is a mutt of a language with ties to Latin, French, German, and Greek, for starters. The word “hundred” has Norse origin and is derived from "hundrath," which is actually 120. The extra 20 must have gotten lost in translation.
8. You can memorize pi by writing a wish.
Count the number of letters in each word of this sentence: "How I wish I could calculate pi." The answer? 3.141592, the first seven digits of pi.
9. Hey, we have the same birthday!
In a group of 23 people, there is a 50% chance two of them have the same birthday. Increase that number to 75, and there is 99% chance!
The best math apps for kids : fun, educational screen time
A free app and online game, Splash Math helps kids K-5 improve their math skills and collect rewards along the way through fun, adaptive games. Through interactive challenges, Splash covers over 350 math concepts in their tablet and smartphone-friendly games.
Winner of the 2015 Best Education Game, Twelve a Dozen is free to try and an affordable $4.99/month subscription through Touch Press Games. Students solve tricky puzzles and save the land of Dozenopolis in this engaging math RPG game.
This is an excellent starting platform with numerous free math apps to choose from. Math Learning Center has a range of games and tools for different age levels and versatile compatibility across devices.
Cool math games for any age and skill level
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The “math playground” has plenty of themed options and topics for grades K-6. This website gives foundational math skills an arcade-game twist, and with so many “gamified” choices, there is sure to be an option to interest any student.
Prodigy was an instant success for good reason. Students love its RPG feel and how humdrum math problems transform into epic quests and reward-worthy challenges in the Prodigy world. Teachers love how this platform has engaged even the most reluctant math students. Prodigy is compatible with both fully remote and hybrid learning models.
This is a great platform for advanced middle school math students and high schoolers. Hooda Math explores more complex topics like statistics and calculus and is perfect for extra practice or a brain break from lengthy math problems.
Making a change to your child’s learning routine can seem overwhelming. Remember that it’s ok to start small, and build from there! If in doubt, consulting an expert is also a great first step. We happen to have one right here at iD Tech, meet Margo Berry.
Operations Manager and math teacher extraordinaire, her Math with Margo series kicks off with how to solve for x in equations, one of algebra's trickiest concepts. Follow along in her tutorial, and finding the value of x will be a breeze.
Also, in case you haven’t heard, iD Tech is bringing our legendary camp spirit to math! Whether your student needs extra help or an extra challenge in math, our elite team of instructors are ready to customize a plan for their learning profile.