Math is a subject that involves facts and proofs of these facts. The theories and formulas we introduce to children of school-going age rarely change. Although math involves abstract concepts, they are related to practicality and have real-life applications. One method that can be used to link the abstract with the practical in math is storytelling.1
Math, like most activities, is a skill that needs to be understood before it can be mastered. Similarly, math skills can be acquired faster when the learning process involves creativity. Children love being creative and are often restless when all they have to do is listen and learn.
Storytelling can add this creative element to math and keep children engaged in a fulfilling learning process. This could be because incorporating storytelling with math helps children become a part of the process and fully understand the concepts. Otherwise, they are just listening to a random problem and someone else’s random solution to it. It just has nothing to do with their lives.
Storytelling in math engages childrens’ imagination. Their visualizations and associations transform mathematical concepts into meaningful memories that last a lifetime. Stories add structure to the explanations, allowing children to make connections, digest math, and absorb knowledge effortlessly.2
There are several creative ways to teach math through storytelling. Some ideas are discussed below to make math more engaging for children.
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This age-old method can be used simply as it is⏤a math story narrated to children, or can be improvised with crafts such as puppets, cutouts, and props. You can find thousands of well-researched, math-themed story books written by experts online. Books based on various math concepts can be used to teach math to children across all age groups.
Children can be assigned the task of writing a story about their learning process, which includes everything from understanding the problem to figuring out how to solve it. They can then share these stories and learn from each other.3
Use this method to kill two birds with one stone. Children can master their tech skills along with math while creating a digital story. They can each contribute a concept in a digital storytelling format and build their own repertoire covering all the math lessons on their syllabus.3
The internet is full of math activities for children that involve group collaborations. Children can weave various parts of math theories, formulas, and equations into stories that have a good storyline with characters, rules, and visuals in the form of illustrations, props, or digital art.1
Some things that are essential to teaching math through storytelling
- Mathematical concepts should be a natural part of the story and sound rational.
- The stories should spark a desire to solve the problem and seek solutions as well as other alternatives to solve the problem.
- Connect the stories to various contexts to make sure it reveals the benefits of the concept in real life.
- Allow children to conduct their investigations of the concept in their own way through various contexts.
Visit the BYJU’S FutureSchool blog for more tips on how to make math interesting for children, or better yet, enroll them in a research-based fun math program where they can engage with their instructors and peers to develop their math skills.
1. Goral, M. B., & Gnadinger, C. M. (2006). Using Storytelling to Teach Mathematics Concepts. APMC, 1, 4–8. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ793906.pdf
2. Rohse, M., Infanti, J. J., Sabnani, N., & Nivargi, M. (2019). The Many Facets of Storytelling: Global Reflections on Narrative Complexity. Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9781848881662
3. Smith, A. (2022, March 8). Storytelling for Kids: Creative Ideas Teachers Can Use to Get Kids Writing. Teach Starter. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.teachstarter.com/us/blog/10-inspirational-storytelling-ideas-for-the-classroom-3/