The benefits of outdoor learning are well documented and include increased motivation, confidence and health benefits particularly for those with a preference for active learning. Getting outdoors for a primary maths lesson is a great way to combine learning and fun whilst making use of the natural resources around them and the space to move around. Whilst forest schools are becoming an increasingly popular choice for outdoor learning, you don’t always have to travel too far, playgrounds, fields and local parks can also be great places to learn.
The first-hand experiences of learning outside the classroom can help to make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils and enhance their understanding. Ofsted 2008
Here are some of our favourite ideas for taking maths into the great outdoors:
Maths with Sticks
There are so many opportunities for using sticks for primary maths. Once the children have had fun collecting their sticks, they can then measure, sort and order them. They can also be used to create shapes and even 3D shapes with the help of some string.
Bean Bag Target Mental Maths Practice
Practice makes perfect and a game that involves throwing bean bags at targets on the ground and adding up scores is a great way to encourage children to practice their mental maths. For simple addition, you can use the bean bag target game set or you can create your own targets using chalk on the playground.
Chalk Number Lines
Chalk number lines are just one way of creating a large scale maths resource that gets children moving around while they are learning.
Children can use markers or paint to create their own number rocks which can then be used for ordering or creating and solving their own maths problems.
Mini Beast Hunts
Mini Beast hunts are a great opportunity for children to count, sort, tally and chart the mini beasts that they find. You can read our post about how to organise a mini beast hunt here .
Measuring Volume the Archimedes Way
Outdoors is usually the best place for playing or learning with water. This fun post by Mommy Moment shows how children can easily use the Archimedes method to measure the volume of small objects.
Times tables can be tricky for some children to learn. This idea for leaf multiplication outdoor maths by Creative Star Learning is a great way to make learning them much more interesting with the added benefit of learning about and exploring the structure of leaves and the fun of collecting the leaves.
A quadrat can be placed on the grass for children to count the numbers of daisies or flowers on a grassed area. The quadrat can also be placed in different areas e.g. under a tree, by a fence, by a path to compare the number of daisies, which can then be shown on bar charts.
For more fun activities, please visit our Outdoor Learning pages
Do you have any fun ideas for taking primary maths outdoors? Please share with us in the comments below.
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Learning Maths Outside the Classroom – National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics
Council for Learning Outside the Classroom