Authentic Teaching – Math

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My husband and I recently rediscovered Yahtzee.  I have always loved this game.  Lots of strategy and math.

When it came time to add up my score, I got up to grab my cell phone to use the calculator.  It dawned on me that I was missing an easy authentic math experience – for me.  Rather than allow my brain to become rusty – I added up my score myself!

Authentic learning does not always have to involve a big project.  The point of authentic learning is to make it real and make it count.  Sometimes this involves a big project.  Sometimes a short and sweet project.  And sometimes just an authentic experience.

There are many wonderful math games to play with children that improve math skills.  Just don’t forget that keeping track of and adding up scores are also fantastic authentic math experiences.  This is also a great authentic way to teach estimation – before actually adding up the scores, do a quick estimation to see who probably won.  And a great authentic way to teach checking your work – add of the score two times to make sure you get the same number both times.

By not grabbing that cell phone or calculator at the end of the game to add up the scores, you can double or triple the authentic math skills practiced and reinforced.  And in case you are wondering – I won that round of Yahtzee!  This doesn’t usually happen, so I think it is important to note this on my blog.

2 thoughts on “Authentic Teaching – Math

  1. Very interesting to read. I am a Director of a school in western Kenya. The country is in the process of reforming its education. We have competency based curricular up to grade 3 this year. I am interested in project based learning. I’m learning and trying to get my teachers interested in project based learning. Any materials up to grade four in mathematics, English and science will go a long way to assist me.

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    1. My principal and I wrote a book. One School’s Journey by Eleanor K Smith and Margaret Pastor. It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. (Only a few dollars on Kindle.) We explain how Authentic Learning works and how it evolved in our school. The book would definitely give you more information!

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