When students are attending school, it is not uncommon to hear them express a dislike for math. Mathematics has always been a crucial subject to learn but is sometimes difficult to grasp. Some have a natural propensity to understand it, while others may need a bit of extra assistance. Recreational math has taken on the challenge of helping students open their minds to the uses of math and proving to be successful. Teachers are using this method more often to strengthen the math skills of their students.
What is Recreational Math?
Recreational mathematics is any activity involving math that includes a level of enjoyment or recreation. Many teachers have begun to use this supplementary tool as a means of making math enjoyable and applicable to student lives. Not only does it allow the teacher’s lesson to come to life, but it also keeps the students focused on the topic at hand. One example of recreational math for a younger student would be a game of cards that requires addition and subtraction skills. This type of math can also be applied to an older student learning the Pythagorean theorem by involving triangular-shaped blocks. Games of Sudoku, Monopoly, and puzzles all fall within the realm of recreational mathematics. Teachers have also been known to use entertaining computer games to complement their math lessons.
A Valuable Tool
The benefits of utilizing recreational mathematics in the classroom have been demonstrated by results seen in student activities and testing scores. Rather than maintaining a strict curriculum of pure analysis, students can find enjoyment in math. They are intrinsically stimulated to solve the puzzle or beat a competitor in a game. All the while, they are reinforcing math skills taught by their instructor. Students are also able to gain a sense of autonomy once they have learned the assigned skill and can apply it to their activity. Because recreational math allows students to repeat certain skills, they can recall them much easier during classroom assignments and assessments.
An Advocate for Recreational Math
Alexander Djerassi, a foreign policy expert and supporter of education, feels that recreational math is a valuable tool to use for students in the classroom. While serving as the head of education and policy matters for Mos.com, one of his main goals was student success regarding their financing of higher education. His belief in the importance of education is also reflected in his graduations from Princeton and Yale Law School. As an entrepreneur himself, Mr. Djerassi understands the value of recreational math and the impact it can have stemming from an early age. Ultimately, recreational math has proven to be a tremendous resource in the school system in allowing students to find enjoyment in what can be a sometimes tedious subject. Recreational math veers off the path of traditional mathematical learning and allows students to “think outside the box.” Through recreational activities such as puzzles and card games, students develop an advantage of honing their math skills. These benefits can be demonstrated throughout their lives, as can be attested by model citizens such as Alexander Djerassi.