Teaching Remedial 7th Grade Math

Students who don't have a solid foundation in math may want to give up entirely when they reach 7th grade. Proper remedial help, like that presented here, can reverse this trend. Using a variety of approaches can help reach even the most disillusioned students.

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Remedial Math for 7th Graders

Instructional Styles

Math students have traditionally been taught through demonstrations, lectures and worksheets. However, students who need remedial math instruction may not learn well from these traditional teaching methods, and giving them more lessons and worksheets may only frustrate them. Using the following steps and approaches in 7th grade remedial math classes can engage and motivate the students.

Test the Student's Skills

You don't want to waste time teaching these students something they already know. So, begin by testing their knowledge and skills. Can they add? Subtract? Multiply? Divide? How do they do with fractions and decimals? Once you determine which skills still need work, you're ready to begin.

One Skill at a Time

Begin with the most basic skill and teach only one skill in each lesson. This way, the students are not likely to be overwhelmed.

Illustrate the Skill

Remedial math teachers may find that their students think primarily in concrete terms and manipulatives are almost mandatory. Use physical objects in the lessons to visually explain the concepts. Alternatively, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives has a long list of simulated manipulatives that are specific to math in grades 6-8 (http://nlvm.usu.edu).

In this computerized age where many students respond well to action, animated lessons can often reach the most disinterested child. Many home school math curricula have these presentations; parents may find that one of the online programs will provide all the remedial help their child needs. Although most must be purchased, Home School Math has a page that lists free or inexpensive programs and materials (www.homeschoolmath.net).

Learn through Practice

Printed worksheets offer all the practice students might need for a new skill, but interactive exercises and games may work better. The Internet is full of free interactive games that give immediate feedback about the accuracy of the student's answers. You can purchase programs that give reports, allowing the parents and teachers to monitor the student's progress.

Other Ways to Make Math Fun

Short, hands-on videos from The Futures Channel show captivating ways in which math is used in everyday situations (www.thefutureschannel.com). You can also find a number of novels and other math stories for young teens that make math concepts fascinating. These include:

  • A Gebra Named Al: A Novel by Wendy Isdell
  • Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
  • The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas
  • The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Rotraut Susanne Berner and Michael Henry Heim
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
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