Popcorn Math

Popcorn MathStudents should work with numbers on a regular basis. Adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying, solving for x; all of these things have their place and value in education.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, mathematics pedagogy has suggested that students need not waste their time learning number facts. Teachers have been dissuaded in using any of the tried and true methods of mathematics instruction.

Gone are the so-called “drill and kill” worksheets. And I agree that simply doing a task over and over again doesn’t necessarily¬†benefit students. But I think it is one of the best ways to learn number facts.

I want my students to know their number bonds (all of the combinations of numbers that add up to 10) their multiplication tables, and the divisibility rules. Learning these things does not take away anything from the problem-solving and collaborative learning environment that is encouraged these days. In fact, know basic number skills helps students in that arena tremendously.

So, here is a good alternative to drill worksheets. I love the randomness of it too. All you need is a popcorn box for each student and some crumpled up paper. The operations go on yellow paper and can include greater than and less than symbols.

I bet the students would like to make up the cards and then trade their popcorn boxes to solve each other’s math facts. We could make sure that the same number of cards go in each box.

I hope you find this Teaching Tip useful.

If you have anything you’d like to share in this series, please leave a comment below or contact me to write a guest post.

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