Adding fun to math

Suma Vivekanandan

Mathematics is abstract. Young children especially can find it boring. It does not have a shape; children cannot see it. They need to visualize properly to solve mathematical problems. Visualization comes from everyday experience.

Another problem that math teachers face is the lack of innovation in the conventional system of teaching. The conventional system of teaching makes mathematics seem like a useless and boring subject. Children are unable to visualize the concepts taught by the teacher, therefore, their interest goes down and they start developing a dislike for the subject. If this lack of association continues for a longer period of time children start hating mathematics.

Some children even develop a fear of math; this is mainly because the essence of mathematics has been sucked from the math class. If math classes are actually about learning how to do mathematics, children will find it as interesting as it actually is. They are rarely given the opportunity to explore mathematics instead they are encouraged to conclude.

Educators have to think of out-of-the-box ideas; how can we make math classes lively, interesting and fun filled? The following are some activities/games that I have developed and regularly and successfully use with my primary students. Why don’t you give these activities a try as well?

Activity to learn LCM – grade 4

  • Ask all students to bring at least 20 to 30 bottle tops or buttons.
  • To find the LCM of 2 and 3, arrange the bottle tops as follows.
  • circles-1

  • Here the first row is shorter.
  • The game is to make both the rows of equal length.
  • But the rule is whenever you add bottle tops to the shorter row, you are allowed to add only as many tops as were originally present in the row.
  • Here the shorter row has 2 tops. So whenever we add bottle tops to this row we have to add them in twos.
  • Same way whenever we keep bottle tops in the second row it has to be in threes (the original number).
  • Continue this process until both rows are of equal length.

    two more added to the first row

    Three more added to the second row

    Two more added to the first row

  • circles-4

  • Now both rows are of equal length.
  • The LCM is 6 (count the number of bottle tops in one row)

The author teaches math at the primary level in Atul Vidyalaya, She has won several teacher awards for her innovative teaching of mathematics and is also a published author. She can be reached at

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