The lack of math fluency may be the largest barrier to early math success. In March of 2016, I attended a professional development seminar for teachers at the St. Lawrence-Lewis County BOCES in Canton, NY (Northern New York). The seminar was conducted by BOCES instructor and math coach, Mrs. Nicole Warr. The purpose of the seminar was to promote strategies that teachers could use to strengthen fluency in elementary math students. One aspect of this seminar focused on the use of movement in math as a way to improve student fluency. One book, Math Movement, written by Suzy Koontz, was given to me as a door prize for attending the seminar. I tried to take the ideas of math movement and in order to create something my 6th grade students might enjoy. So one morning on my commute to work I came up with Math Karate.
At that time I was teaching a math unit on reading and writing mathematical expressions to a 6th grade class. So, on the morning of Math Karate’s creation, I drew the movements that I had come up with that would best resemble and remind students of the numbers, operations, and symbols associated with expressions. We started out with just basic symbols, such as the symbols for addition and subtraction. It was not long after that we were using Math Karate to write entire expressions.
The students loved it, and I observed them making connections between the movements and the math itself. I was encouraged by some of the success of my more challenged math students. This presentation is a breakdown of those movements with the math symbols that they represent. I hope you enjoy using this to improve fluency in your classroom.