The first day of school should be a fun and exciting time for students and teachers. It is often a time where teachers and students focus on getting to know each other on a very basic level so that they can achieve success throughout the school year. When teaching a math class, the first day is one of the most important for many reasons. Some students are nervous about math, others find the subject boring and other students are hopeful that their math class will be as exciting as they expect it to be. Having a fun introductory activity for students in a math class is a great way to ensure success throughout the year. All of the following activities are great for students in an elementary school classroom, but the "Math About Me" and "Already a Quiz" activities can be adapted for the high school classroom.
Birthday Bar Graph
Bar graphs are a very important part of the math curriculum. The "Birthday Bar Graph" activity is not only a great visual decoration for the classroom, but also a great way for students to introduce themselves and remember each other's birthdays during the school year. The teacher should prepare twelve stacks of different colored strips of paper for students, with each one labeled for a different month. Students should write down their birthday on the colored strip that corresponds with their birth month and then place their strip in chronological order on the bar graph visual that the teacher has provided.
What's in a Name?
The "What's in a Name?" activity is a great way for students to introduce themselves by name while learning about counting and numbers. Teachers should begin by asking students to count the number of letters in their first names. Then, students should share their first names and how many letters are in their name out loud with the teacher and the other students while the teacher records the names and number of letters for each student. From there, the teacher and students can create a graph and discuss who has the shortest name and who has the longest name. This activity uses numbers and graphing, which are very important concepts in a math classroom.
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Math About Me
In the "Math About Me" activity students should fill out a form that includes information such as birth date, address, phone number, favorite number, number of people in their family and any other information involving numbers that would interest your students. After students fill out their forms, you should have your students share the information in groups to find out which numbers they have in common with others. This activity will help students learn a little bit about each other and show them how important numbers are in everyday life.
Already a Test!
The "Already a Test!" activity is a great activity for students who are apprehensive about math. Inform your students that they will take a quiz today that will be the hardest quiz of the year because they are not prepared. Have the students take out a pencil and paper and then ask them very basic questions about themselves that have to do with numbers. For example, ask the student to record how many brothers and sisters she has, how many pets she has, what her favorite number is and how many years old she is. Collect the papers and tell the students that they have just passed the hardest exam of the year and that for all other exams they will be prepared.