Teaching children how to add requires them to understand the concept of combining objects to create a larger whole and learning how to represent that combination symbolically. Giving students the opportunity to manipulate objects to represent addition equations helps children move from a conceptual to a representative level of understanding. The math menu activities I present here provide students with opportunities to make that leap in a variety of fun ways.
Like the offerings at a restaurant, a Math Menu provides students with a selection of math activities from which they may choose. Each activity reinforces a concept already taught while providing computation practice. They are not designed for introductory instruction. Students are required to select and complete a certain number of those activities in a set time period. The activities can be coded as easier or more challenging if the teacher prefers or extension activities can be added to each menu item so that students who need a challenge can be accommodated.
The activities are completed in a workshop format. Students may choose to work alone or in small groups and move through the activities at their own pace. A test can be administered at the end of the workshop period, but a better gauge of mastery would be to look at the work the students collect in their math menu folder. Daily review of this work allows the instructor to reteach if needed, make meaningful interventions, and meet individual needs.