Fun Activities to Learn Math Outdoors
Sick of spending hour after hour implanted on your desk chair calculating the Pythagorean Theorem? Or watching your child work on yet another worksheet at the kitchen table? How are kids supposed to learn anything when they have no circulation to their heads or fresh air to breathe? Go outdoors and have some fun learning math skills. From flowers and birds, to chalk and beach balls; there are many fun ways to use the outdoors to learn math.
Games Get the Brain Juices Flowing
Outdoors games are a great way to learn math outdoors for any age group. Try
this fun outdoor math game that uses an ordinary inflatable beach ball. Write
math equations, math facts, or geometric figures on the beach ball. Play a game
of catch, and the person who catches the ball has to answer the math question
that their right thumb touches. For difficult questions, have paper and pencil
ready. If you are alone, throw the ball up in the air and catch it. Alternatively, if
you are in a large crowd, use regular balls and play dodge ball. Every time a
person is tagged out, they will have to answer a math question before they are
allowed back into the game.
Be a Math Explorer
Write a list of math facts you need to learn. Go outdoors and find objects that represent these math facts. For example, if you are learning about triangles, find different types of triangles in nature. If you are bogged down with algebra, write your own algebraic equations using things you see outside as variables. If you are practicing graphing, create graphs on data you collect in nature – such as the number and type of trees or flowers, or number of birds that fly by per minute.
Chalk Isn’t Just for Hopscotch
Grab a tub of chalk and get going. Go outside and use chalk to write your equations, find angles of geometric shapes, or practice graphing. Bring a ruler and protractor with you. Use different colors of chalk and have fun with it!
Take a Hike
There are many opportunities to practice your math skills while getting some exercise! Learn your math through a fun nature hike. Walk a mile and calculate your total time and average speed. Or take a short stroll through the park and find examples of symmetry, the Golden Ratio, or fractals in plants and insects. Measure the length of a fallen tree, trail, boardwalk, or bike path.
Studying is for the Birds
If you are more of a traditional learner, someone who just needs a quiet space, consider grabbing a comfy chair or blanket and your math materials, and heading outside. Leave your telephones and annoying brother or sister inside, and enjoy the peace and quiet that nature has to offer. You’ll be surprised how the fresh air will help you to concentrate and learn.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Remember to always be prepared when you go outside to learn. It might help to keep a small backpack of outdoor math materials handy. In your backpack, pack extra paper, pencils, and calculator, as well as sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and a bottle of water. Go outdoors and have some fun learning your math; all that fresh air is great for your brain!
By Ana Ulrich