Integrating math education with other subjects adds up to stronger lessons

CHALKING THE LINE | BY JEANNE WHITE | 5 MINUTES OF READING

An illustration of a calculator shows how math education can be combined with other subject areas to enhance student learning.

When I was a primary school teacher, my favorite part of the school day was when I read aloud to my students and my favorite subject to teach was math.

Once I discovered illustrated books written on mathematical concepts, I was excited to combine my two passions. I started collecting books on math concepts covered in the elementary grades (such as geometry, place value, fractions, and the four operations). And I made sure that my class library always included a section with the content area picture books to supplement my lessons.

What happened when I mixed books and math? I began to see students progress and enjoy math.

All children have subject areas in which they excel, as well as areas of interest. When teachers demonstrate how math can be used in real-world situations, children discover how math can be connected to other subject areas. Successively, kids are motivated to learn more about those math concepts. Teachers will find that integrating math into other content areas can enhance elementary students’ understanding of mathematical concepts.

How Other Content Areas Advance Math Education

I taught first and second grade for 12 years before accepting a full-time teaching position at Elmhurst University in 2005. I was hired to teach mathematical methods to teacher candidates in the bachelor’s degree programs in elementary and early childhood education. . I brought children’s literature and other resources to integrate math into other content areas.

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