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MATH PLUS is a fun tool that can be used by students in a variety of games to dramatically improve arithmetic skills. Individuals move around the perimeter to practice addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Advanced users can also do division and percentages. Beginners can start on the easiest branch until confident to move on to more difficult problems. Soon, they can race around the entire MATH PLUS track and try to improve their personal best time while mastering arithmetic. The MATH PLUS track is organized in four branches of varying difficulty allowing the user to concentrate on sets of problems from easiest to more difficult.
Start with the easiest line.
Advance to two lines on one branch.
You can focus on any one line
or branch to iprove your mastery.
Easier horizontal branches
or follow the same progression on the harder vertical branches.
You can race one person on the easier horizontal branches vs. the more advanced person racing on the more difficult vertical branches.
Addition- add top # to bottom #. Beginners may be say "two plus zero equals two", but will quickly advance to saying just the answer "Two". Note: zero is on the easier lines and only for 0, 1, 2, 10, 11, 12. Zero with 3 thru 9 are not included in MATHPLUS. All other problems (0 thru 12) are included.
Subtraction- subtract lower value bottom # from top #. The larger number is on top for subtraction. You will find 7 above 6, but not 6 above 7.
Multiplication- multiply top number by bottom. You do not have to say "eight times three equals twenty-four," just say "twenty-four" and move on.
Division and percentages are for advanced users. Divide the lower value bottom number by the top number. You can express the number as a decimal [ex. 2 on top and 1 on bottom equals 0.5 ("point five")] or percentage [50% ("fifty percent" or just "50" when racing)]. Some answers need to be rounded off [ex. 3 and 1 = 0.33 and a third ("point three three and one third") or 33 1/3% ("thirty-three and a third percent") or "33 with repeating three"]. Yes, you can memorize division and percentages up to 11 divided by 12 and they are useful to know.
A younger student can be doing addition while more advanced students are racing, simultaneously, through subtraction, multiplication, or even division/percentages. One person can race against the clock to set their personal record (PR) or the school record.
The student with the best times for 1) addition, 2) subtraction, 3) multiplication, and 4) all three laps (+, -, x) can be posted for each grade outside the principal's office and monitored by a designated math teacher for that grade. There can be categories for the "Best time of the month" (or last month if it is too difficult to keep up with), "Best time of the year", "Best all-time". For kindergarten through fourth grade (five years) x 4 contests x 3 sets (month/year/all-time) there is the potential for 60 names at any one time (plus many more throughout the year if winning names change during the current month). A large poster board for each grade with a system to easily change names will make it less burdensome to administer. Students will love showing off to their parents their name outside the principal's office recognizing their record. Students can use a stop watch or wrist watch to time themselves or others, then report their best times of the month to the math teacher administering their grade. It is preferable that it not be required to be timed by someone else (that other person should be playing at the same time rather than timing someone else).
Once the poster boards are set up outside the principal's office and there is a system to easily post and change names (ex. velcro, slots, tape, clips), the students can take it upon themselves to compete... and learn. Basic arithmetic mastery is almost inevitable. Math TAKS test scores and student confidence will soar. We will monitoring TAKS results to see if MATHPLUS should be added to other playgrounds.
With or without a watch, race around the track to do either addition, subtraction, or multiplication as fast as you can. Better still, see how fast you can do all three (lap of addition, then subtraction, then multiplication). If you have the best time of the month, let your grade's administrator know so they can post it outside the Principal's office.
Students start evenly spread out, agree what math function (+, -, x) they will be doing, then on "Go" race to catch up to and tag the person in front of them. That student is then "out" until one (or two) winner(s) is/are left (there is only one minute left after the last two people remain). The design has 8 ten foot long lines so it can easily accommodate 8 or more contestants per game. If more students want to play, they can line up at the beginning of line one and start when the player in front turns right at the corner to the next line.
Weather permitting, math teachers may find MATHPLUS effective to use during class time. The whole class can be doing a lot of problems quickly while having fun.
Teachers or judges in a more formal competition (or to set new all-time records) have room to navigate on the inside lanes to check on accuracy of answers. Most of the time (including setting monthly or annual records), you do not need anyone in that role.
Write us if you are interested in getting MATH PLUS on your playground. Make up your own games and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we'll add them to the website!