Maths After School Club: How to guide and fun activities.
A guide on how to set up your own maths club in your school. From goal planning to fun activities that anyone can enjoy.
Mathematics has always been one of those subjects which you can almost compare to marmite – “it’s not for everyone”, but what if we told you that in fact, that statement is simply not true. Through out the years, the struggle for students to understand maths has been evident – simple phrases such as “I can’t do this” limits the students, making them have less confidence when it comes to problem-solving but by taking a growth mindset we can avoid this, showing students that maths is fun!
That is why we believe that all schools should have a maths after school club.
Table of Contents
But first of all, what is a maths after school club?
A maths after school club is not the same as a maths class, it is important to differentiate them both so students are more likely to access the service. According to some teachers, students relate being able to do good in maths with one’s intelligence. In the long run, this could lead to a lack of self-esteem which limits a person’s abilities. Here at Emile, we want to assure teachers and students that even this core subject which has such a bad name, can be turned into something fun and enjoyable – your ability to do maths does not reflect one’s intelligence or learning progress.
What are the positives of having a maths after school club?
Having a maths after school club is a way of allowing students to explore areas they already enjoy and dive into areas they may find challenging with an approachable and fun atmosphere.
There is a range of benefits that come from having a maths club, these include:
- Aiding the development in motor, social and problem-solving skills.
- To help raise the profile in maths in schools.
- It contributes to learning with other age groups.
- The opportunity of trying new things in a less academic environment.
- Promotes a can-do attitude with maths.
But where do we start?
To start a maths after school club you need to establish a need, this sounds simple, but you must think of exactly what you would like to achieve. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who – who is going to run the maths club? We can instantly assume it has to be a maths teacher, however by involving teachers from different departments you can create a diverse place. Communication is key to run a successful maths club. Therefore, we suggest occasionally having informal meetings to discuss the content you will be using in your club, this will help to avoid any repetitive areas of the subject that the students have already practiced recently.
When – The time the club takes place is also highly important. Does the club run through lunch? Or is it after school? A positive aspect of having a club after school gives the parents the chance to get involved, it also separates itself from the strict curriculum guidelines. Therefore, teachers can be less pressured to cover specific topics. Doing your maths club during lunch break might make students miss out on social opportunities with classmates that do not attend the maths club, however, it does give the student the chance to make new friends from different age ranges.
Why – Why do you want to set up a maths club? Is there a demand for it? Do your students enjoy maths? Considering why is an important factor. Set your club some goals to achieve, like for example to have all students know their seven times tables.
Where – Considering the current situation in the world, the only place we can have a maths club where all students can get involved is online. However, once restrictions are over and we can return to our normality, you can run your maths club in your school. The room where students have maths class is a good start, you could also hold the sessions in your school library or the ICT room.
After planning out your maths after school club you then need to focus on:
The Equipment – What will you be using? Tablets, computers, worksheets? With easy access to the internet, it can be tempting to focus all your content on the web. Still, you should try and find a balance between online and offline work.
Staff requirements – You should consider who you require to get involved in your maths club, if you are a maths leader think about what teachers would enjoy running a maths club with you. If you are a teacher, confiding in the maths leader will be extremely helpful to develop strategies and activities that match what they are learning in class without it becoming repetitive.
Engagement and attendance – Lastly, how are you going to inspire students to join the club? How will you keep them coming?
Well, the unwillingness to engage in maths can due to a lack of understanding from teachers and students, most often unintentionally. But by approaching the situation head-on with a can-do attitude we can teach students that mistakes do not make someone a failure, instead, it is a great opportunity to grow and learn better than before.
We can support students by:
- Being patient and not getting frustrated if a student does not understand the work, simply show your student how to recover from the mistake so they are able to try again.
- Try and relate to them, after all, children look up to their teachers so it’s important to make them feel valid.
- You can use positive body language cues to motivate your students to keep trying, especially if they are doing a good job!
- Prompt the students to persevere and explore new areas – this could help them later in higher education.
Before we talk about all the fun things you can do in your maths after school club, we ought to stress that a maths club is not a maths class – activities should be challenging but low in anxiety. Within the activity, there should be the chance for students to take control of their own learning, this will later support them with learning outside of school.
We have come up with a few ideas which you can apply in your classroom:
Codebreaking – turn your club into a spy headquarter and break mathematical codes to finish successfully.
Maths investigation – these can be real-life situations that contribute to later learning and life skills development.
Emile Education – On our app, we have many games that focus on mathematics. Have your students play on multiplayer and challenge each other, or complete storylines together with Emile and friends.
Bingo! – Get everyone involved by hosting your own bingo hour. Ask teachers if they would like to join. Have a small prize for the winner.
You can download one of our bingo worksheets that focus on multiplication by clicking the purple button down below.
You could also try a more challenging type of bingo called Division bingo.
Have your students draw a grid with numbers from one to nine. You will need two dice to roll the numbers. Roll your dice and the two scores make up a two-digit answer. So, if you roll a nine and a five you can either have 95 or 59 as a final score. Students must then see if that number can be divided evenly in any of the numbers they have written down on their grid.
The first one to finish wins!
Dungeons and Dragons Children edition – Focusing on probability and chance, at Emile we have created a small map where you can test your probability skills.
How to play: For this game, students need two dice and the map provided below.
The goal is to cross the river, pass the checkpoints, find Emile and take him back to the castle. We do this by storytelling and making decisions with the help of the dice.
Students must first give their character a name, you can use counters to resemble each player, the teacher must then introduce the mission and state the dice rule – this is what will determine if your decisions are successful or not – keep in mind what both of your dice adds up to!
If this sounds too complicated, do not worry! We have set up an example of how to play bellow.
For example, your rule could be “5 higher” which means if you roll anything above a 5 the chances and probability of you succeeding are high. However, the teacher can decide whether the number is high enough for the decision that needs to be made.
The game would go as follows:
Rule: 6 or higher.
Teacher: Young students have gathered by the river and have found a boat that will allow them to cross. But there is just one problem, the boat has holes in it therefore someone must fix it! [Name of student] You are carrying a tool kit in your bag, so you decide to try and fix the boat, how do you fix it?
Student: I would go up to the boat and check the holes first. I would then try and use the wood I can find on the floor to cover the holes.
Teacher: [Name of student] Please roll your dice to see if you have succeeded.
The student would now roll their dice. In this scenario, the student rolls an eight. Bear in mind the rule is six or higher.
Teacher: [Name of student] Attempts to fix the boat but he runs out of wood! He is so close to mending the boat too! Would anyone like to help finish fixing the boat?
This will help students understand the rules and approaches to probability.
- The boat
- The dock
- The hidden raccoon
- The scary house
- Camp: Found Emile!
- The dark woods
- The Nessie pond
- And finally, the castle.
The story can be made up to your liking, and its aim is to get students thinking creatively!