Fun Math Lesson Plans for Grades 6-8

Learning math can be a lot of fun or really boring for your class, depending on how you present it. If you stand in the front of the classroom and lecture about math concepts, your students will probably lose focus pretty quickly. Here are two ideas to help you make math fun for your students.

Making Math Fun for 6th-8th Graders

Appeal to Their Interests

Almost every child loves 'magic,' and there are some math problems that seem like magic. Doing the following problem can give your students practice in computation as well as increase their interest in math.

1. Multiply your age by seven.
2. Multiply the answer by 1443.

You'll get your age repeated three times. Example: 7 x 13 (your age) = 91; 91 x 1443 = 131313

The next challenge for the students is to figure out why this works. If you multiply any 2-digit number by 10101, that number will be repeated three times - the number of ones in 10101.

This is also true and easy to see if you multiply 10101 by any single-digit number, where the number is shown three times with a zero preceding the second and third repetition of the number. But it seems more like magic if you use a 2-digit number. The 'trick' multiplies your age in two steps - first by seven, then by 1443 (multiply 7 x 1443, and you get 10101).

Use Hands-On Activities

For this activity, you'll need a stop watch. On the board you'll keep a record chart with two columns. The first column is for the number of students; the second is for the amount of time.

Ask two students to line up. (Though you begin with two students, soon you'll have the whole class in a line.) The students need to be an arm's length from each other and able to touch the shoulder of the person who's ahead. When you say, 'Go,' the student at the end of the line touches the person in front of him or her as quickly as possible. As soon as the front person feels that touch, he raises his hand. You keep time for how long it takes from when you said 'Go' until the first person in line raises his hand. In the chart on the board, record the number of students and the time.

Add two more students to the front of the line. Repeat the steps until everyone in the class is in the line. When you've completed the chart, use the data to plot points on a graph. The number of students is represented on the x-axis, and the amount of time on the y-axis.

Help the students analyze the data on the board. Connect the dots to see if there's a pattern. Then, make predictions, such as how long it would've taken if there had been 50 students in the line.

You can extend this to predict how long it would take if students were lined up between two geographical points, such as the school and the county court house. You might need the computer to find the exact distance to use, and you'll have to determine an average arm length of the students in the class to figure out an approximate number of students needed for the prediction.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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