Beach Ball Math Practice
I know lots of teachers use beach balls in the classroom, but I haven't used them in such a long time that I thought I'd share my excitement about finally getting some new ones!
I often used beach balls for basic math fact practice when I taught 4th and 5th grades in the elementary school.
I have a little bit of a beach theme in my middle school (6th grade) classroom this year, so that motivated me to get some beach balls again. I ordered a pack of 12 and am writing different math practice problems on them - so far I have practice for:
Time for Extra Math Practice
Our math classes aren't that long, but I figure I can squeeze in 5 minutes of extra math review at the end of class once or twice a week. We can toss the beach balls around for some quick math practice:-)
When we used the beach balls for math practice in the past, I'd designate a particular finger for the problem to solve, like, "answer the math problem that your right thumb lands on."
Or, if the beach ball had just numbers on it, I'd give them two fingers and an operation: "multiply the number under your left thumb and your right pinkie."
With so many different beach balls, I could differentiate for math math students and have 3 groups tossing at a time, depending on their needs. So many possibilities!
Do you use beach balls in math class (or any other class)? If so, how?
To Read Next
This post is from my old blog, and was written in April, 2015, but I thought it was worth transferring here and sharing:-)
According to the Huffington Post (10/13/14), coloring benefits adults (and I would assume children as well) because it "generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity." In addition, psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala states that when we color, we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres. "The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress."
According to PenCentral (link is no longer active), coloring benefits adults in helping them to maintain fine motor skills -this requires extra work by your brain to coordinate your actions and muscle control in your hands and arms. Coloring can help delay the loss of fine motor skills as people age. Coloring may also help fight cognitive loss, especially
if challenging pieces are completed every so often.
I didn't necessarily find research to answer my student's exact question, but what I found was quite interesting! If you know of other articles or published research to support the role of coloring in improving math skills, please let me know!
There’s no denying that middle school is a difficult time in kids’ lives. I remember my middle school years (actually junior high years - we didn't have middle school in our district back then:-) and while they say the teen years are the worst, my tween years felt like the worst instead.
I see students struggling through so many transitions. It’s up to us as teachers and as parents to better understand the problems facing middle school kids today, so we can help.
Most bullying happens, or at least starts, in middle school. In fact, at least 25% of students in the U.S. say they’ve been a victim of bullying. I remember bullying growing up, but it’s become a much worse issue today. When students are having to constantly deal with bullying in school and online, it makes it difficult for them to concentrate or even care about coming to school. Sadly, the solution isn’t clear, but we just have to be there to help build students’ confidence and prevent bullying whenever we can.
Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!