It seems like mathematics is a subject that falls into three categories: you like it, you know enough to get by, or you absolutely hate it. For those who love it, I applaud you all. Now you can learn how to share your passion with your students.
Math is an integral part of our students’ lives. The reasons are obvious on the surface. It is is important in real life situations, from learning the basics of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication to counting, and using money. Beyond that though, a student who feels the joy of math will be on the path to acheiving great things.
Integration of mathematics can be as simple or complex as you choose and material dictates. From solving the basic addition problem while practicing an exercising, to as complex as figuring out how the angle of a basketball shot will dictate the velocity of how it rebounds from the rim, there is no perfect or right way to integrate math into PE. However, there are some proven strategies from both experienced teachers and the science of how students learn that work best.
3 Simple Ways to Integrate Math into PE
Below are a few simple ways to get started integrating math into physical education.
Part and Parcel
Keep the integration from stopping the entire lesson for long periods of time. While you may need to wait for some time to see if a child can answer the problem, PE should not become a math class. One way to avoid this is by including the math as a natural part of the class. For example, have students dribble the basketball and skip count by twos.
Just like you will have a range of abilities in your class when it comes to physical skills, you will also have a range of abilities for math. Therefore, you will need to ensure that the math you integrate is challenging to every student at their level. Otherwise, you will prepare your students for boredom and failure, which is not our intention.
Processing the Solution
The great thing about math is that it teaches how to solve problems. Sounds familiar since that is what we do as physical educators on a daily basis. However, when integrating mathematical problems, you have to focus on the solution and the process it took to get there, because both matter in the end. If students do not know how to solve the problem, then they are not engaging in critical thinking. We need our students to be thinking at higher levels.
These are just 3 simple things to keep in mind when integrating math in PE.
Online PD Course – Integrating Math into PE
For more comprehensive strategies and methods, including games and resources all in one place, check out my new course on PE Central’s Olnine Professional Development platform. The course is called Integrating Math Into Physical Education: Support Math Concepts While Getting Students Active.
The course is designed for any K-12 physical education teacher, as math is a lifelong educational requirement. We focus on developing a working knowledge of the importance of integrating math for overall student success, and explores how to implement a myriad of math strategies with your students, while keeping them active and learning their physical education curricular outcomes.
About the Author:
Charles Silberman is a physical education and health teacher with 14 years of teaching experience. He has become a leader and advocate for incoming physical educators by running workshops on teaching in limited space at staff in-services and conferences, assisting with new teacher orientations, and other initiatives. He has experience writing curriculum from scratch and writing published information specific to physical education in state and nationally recognized publications and websites. Charles has also created a niche as a physical education specialist who fuses technology and primary instructional subjects into physical education lessons.
View all of his Professional Development courses at the S&S Worldwide online school.