How to Teach Mathematics in the Primary School

Math manipulatives encourage exploration of math concepts at the primary level.
••• accounts fig close up image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, children's knowledge of math skills at the primary level "predicts their math achievement for later years." Using different activities that allow children to use and develop math skills develops strong logic and reasoning skills in children. Teaching math skills to primary level students should be done using multiple teaching strategies to optimize student learning.

    Engage the students in math activities such as sorting, organizing, patterning, mapping and making pictures or drawing to find the answers to math problems.

    Provide materials to enhance math discoveries. Math manipulatives, number lines, the hundreds chart and play money give students tangible items they can use to make connections to their math skills.

    Introduce one math concept in several different ways, demonstrate it to the class, allow the children to work in pairs on problems, and have them engage in math games or activities related to the concept.

    Ask children to explain their thinking process. Have them explain in their own words how they came to the answer, or they can show you using manipulatives or drawings.

    Encourage children to make connections between math they know and new concepts. Ask questions guiding children to make their discoveries about mathematical concepts. Have the children predict the answer based on what they know, then have them work out the problem to find out if they were right. For example, in a subtraction problem, they can predict the answer will be lower than the top number.

    Support the students in building math skills by encouraging them to ask questions and use reasoning skills.

    Things You'll Need

    • Manipulatives
    • Number lines
    • Hundreds charts

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