- Dr. Monica Cavender

# Math + Games = Learning + Fun

I was one of those kids who never considered math as fun. Math was taught in a way that there was only one way to get to an answer. It was also believed that the faster you could say the answer, the better you must be in math.

Now I know so much more about teaching and learning mathematics. After 30+years of teaching, I've learned that thinking flexibly about numbers and operations is thinking mathematically. Memorizing facts for rote recall, doesn't mean that you understand why the answer is correct. There is a ton of brain research that concludes that automaticity should be reached through understanding of numerical relations, achieved through thinking about number strategies. I've also learned that EVERYONE has the potential to think mathematically if they are given the opportunity to share about how they think about number relationships.

I've watched children and adults develop better math skills and deeper understanding while playfully competing and justifying their thinking to win a game. I know, from many years as a teacher (and learner) that purposeful practice is critical in learning new concepts. That practice is even more powerful if it is fun. The outdated approach of completing sheets isn't engaging, therefore creates a negative vibe towards learning and practicing mathematics.

Join me in the conversation about supporting the fun of learning mathematics at Zach's Backpack. At Zach's Backpack you will also find math games that are played with everyday materials found at home. Each game has well outlined directions, some suggested variations as well as conversation starters to use in promoting the sharing of ideas about thinking mathematically. Sign up for Zach's Backpack mailing list to stay updated with new games and blogs posted regularly.