Mathematics for disengaged students

In her new video series on Making Maths fun, Mathematics teacher Holly Millican shares the top three strategies she uses in her classroom with some of her most disengaged students.

Millican says that when she comes into the classroom, she tends to see disengaged students in one of three categories: those that genuinely don't understand the mathematics, those who don't see the value of mathematics, and those that have things that are more important so they're distracted.

She outlines three strategies that she's found to re-engage those students. The first is by using hands-on activities like a giant dice. ‘They're so good because you can use them for heaps of different maths activities, from adding to subtracting, to multiplying, to algebra.'

The second strategy is to implement alternate seating in the classroom. ‘I have a rug down the front of my classroom which allows the kids to move from being in the standard seats that they sit in every single day for six hours a day, into a different learning space,' Millican shares.

The third strategy is all about relating content to the real world. ‘I have found by specifically linking the mathematics we are learning in class with something like a job that the students want to do or something they can go “hey that's a real thing” – they become a lot more engaged,' she says.


What strategies do you use to engage all students in mathematics lessons? Have you found a particular approach that works well?

Holly Millican says that some students find it difficult to relate mathematical concepts to the real world. How do you do this in your lessons?