Growing as Math Students with Visual Motivation

Math Contest at Elementary School - Think Through MathTo motivate my student I have created a Think Through Math bulletin board. Students both have an independent goal and a class goal to help them be motivated to complete and pass their math lessons.

For the students independent goal, they put a sticker up each time they pass a Think Through Math lesson. Once the student passes five math lessons, they get their first reward of candy. This helped to motivate many students to get on board and complete their lessons. After they reach this goal, they then work towards another reward for every ten lessons passed. If a student achieves 30 passed lessons, then the student will get a dress down day, which is a big deal at our school. Students seem really excited and eager to put a sticker up on their chart.  The minute they see the green box saying that they passed a lesson, they bring me their computers and I can give them their next sticker to put on the chart.

For the class motivation, each class has a game piece that they select to represent their class.  The class is then able to monitor their game piece as they move closer to the full pizza. As each classes game piece moves around the display, I will put up a slice of pizza. For my pizza board, I have six slices of pizza.  The classes receive their first slice of pizza after 75% of the class has passed 3 lessons. The class then receives additional pizza slices for each 100, 000 THINK points that they donate. Students do get to move their player piece on the board for every 10,000 points donated. They love seeing which class is in the lead.  This builds a great team in each classroom since they are working together to get the full pizza. I have also heard a lot of encouraging words from students about what they can do if they have not gotten many stickers. This has helped to build teaching within my classroom and encourages peer motivation.

It has been amazing to see how fast the students caught on to this and wanting to put their own stickers up marking their progress. It’s great to hear the students talk about how many stickers they have and how they want to be the one on the leaderboards. We also make sure that the student gets a shout out in our morning announcements for the most lessons passed. This seems to be the final push that the students need to really want to be passing their math lessons.

I am so excited to see how much my student are growing using this program not just in math, but socially, emotionally, and mathematically. This has helped my students to become teachers and better learners.

THINK Nation Blogger — Julie Scherbarth, 6-8 Math Teacher at Chicago International Charter School Jackson, Illinois