Remedial Math Instruction: Lesson Plans and Sample Exercises

Remedial math instruction can occur at almost every grade level from first grade through senior year of high school, and in every math subject from addition to calculus. You can use the information here to focus on the principles and steps to follow in a lesson plan format to teach your students remedial math.

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Teaching Remedial Math


Elementary ages

  • Manipulative objects (such as blocks, tiles or cubes)
  • Stories
  • Math songs
  • Art supplies

All ages

  • Graphs and charts
  • Pictures


1. Identify the students' math strengths and weaknesses.

2. Discover your student's learning styles, using tests designed for that purpose. You may obtain these tests from your school or find them online. Three basic types of learning styles can be described as auditory, visual and kinesthetic.

Once you know your students' learning styles you can tailor your teaching methods accordingly. For example, a visual learner may want to take lots of notes and review printed material, while an auditory learner may wish to hear the learning material repeated aloud and verbalize what she has learned. Kinesthetic learners often prefer hands-on learning of math concepts, using pattern blocks and other manipulative objects.

3. Strengthen basic math skills through appropriate learning-style strategies.

4. With the same strategies, teach to the students' weaknesses in math as if they have never studied the subject before. First, take a concrete approach using 3-dimensional, age-appropriate manipulatives. Second, employ 2-dimensional, age-appropriate visual aids, such as pictures, charts, etc. Finally, introduce math symbols and numbers.

5. Have the students keep a notebook listing math facts, vocabulary and procedures in their own words.

Reinforcing the Lesson

Use music, stories, games, art work and physical activities to reinforce learning whenever useful and possible. For instance, you may use a song to help your students remember the multiplication facts.

Cautions and Concerns

Don't teach too fast. Take your time and make sure the students learn one step well before teaching the next step. Remember that repetition is important for any student to learn a new concept, so review frequently.

Sample Exercise

Math word problems are often difficult for children who need remedial math instruction. Teaching them the following steps will help them sort through information in a word problem.

Example: Pete, Paul and Phil had a great time playing in the snow for 3 hours. Pete made 4 snowballs and 3 snowmen. Phil made 8 snowballs. Paul made a snow fort and 3 snowballs. How many snowballs did the boys make?

  1. Read the whole problem.
  2. Circle or highlight the question. (How many snowballs did they make?)
  3. Cross-out anything that won't help you find the answer. (Cross-out 'Pete, Paul, and Phil had a great time playing in the snow for 3 hours,' '3 snowmen,' and 'a snow fort.' You are looking only for information about how many snowballs were made; how long the boys played, how many snowmen and how many forts they made has nothing to do with snowballs.)
  4. Underline anything that will help you find the answer. (Underline '4 snowballs,' '8 snowballs,' and '3 snowballs.')
  5. Solve the problem. (4 snowballs + 8 snowballs + 3 snowballs = 15 snowballs)
Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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