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Affordable Ideas To Make Your Maths Classroom Look Awesome
3rd December 2016
A classroom should be a place where students can relax and concentrate but hopefully also feel stimulated and inspired. While at ConquerMaths we believe that the simpler our content delivery system is the better, when it comes to the physical space of a classroom which students – and teachers spend a lot of time – a little imagination and enriching decoration can really enhance that time, without spending much money of course!
We were inspired by this classroom in Uttar Pradesh – the kids often have to wait a while to get their textbooks so the teachers use the marking and diagrams on the walls to help them get a head start.
So we thought about how to make maths classrooms more inspiring and helpful, without breaking the bank!
We remember when we were at school, our favourite classrooms were definitely the ones in which the teacher had made an effort.
We had a look around and came up with some more economical ideas for how to make that learning space fun, welcoming and educationally supportive. (Note: many of the images we found for this article we struggled to find the original contributor for, we apologize and if you recognize any of these images or they belong to you please do let us know!)
You could measure the dimensions of the classroom and fix lines of tape to walls, showing the measurements or mark on mathematical descriptions.
A certificate ‘fridge’ wall – encourage ConquerMaths students to print out their certificates and pin them to a cork board. You might need to pin folders to the wall for each student as they will get lots!
On the floor around the door mark 180 degrees on the floor like this
Decorate bins with fractions – how full is the bin?
Infographics and lists about jobs and careers which require maths i.e. nearly all of them!
Make a small corner of the room comfortable, with cushions and blankets, so students can take themselves away and ponder a problem in comfort and privacy, as you can see in the heading image at the start of this article - a 'thinking nook'.
Decorate this corner and the rest of the classroom with 3-d shapes that your students make from printable nets, such as the ones in the heading image - although the results will probably look a bit more like this. Don't forget you can also dangle shapes from the ceiling!
Put coloured lists of indices, shapes cubes, primes, pi, etc on the ceiling – if you’re careful there’s no reason why not as long as it’s not too cluttered or distracting.
In fact use any surfaces available to you to decorate and display information!
Set up a photo wall for any fun activities the class has enjoyed together, including photos of winners of competitions. It will mean remembering to take pictures but kids will love looking for themselves.
Giant calculator – obviously the ConquerMaths giant calculator is a bit special but you could always make creating one out of paper for the wall into a mini class project, and label the most important functions so students don’t forget.
Lego display on the wall demonstrating fractions – the class can do this together too and it’s a great exercise.
Make geometric shapes on windows with coloured tissue paper and tape – it looks pretty too!
Maths humour – feel free to use the ConquerMaths funnies from the newsletter for inspiration! Students love a bit of humour and it makes the subject – and the teacher - seem less intimidating.
At the end of each year, encourage students to give you quotes about what they enjoyed most and then put them on the wall for the new class to enjoy. If it is the same class they will still read them to see what their friends said!
Collage of beautiful images of maths in nature - you could even add a small display of similar non-perishable physical items such as shells, ferns and dried sunflowers etc.
Inspirational quotes from mathematical figures (of course) and similarly quotes about mistakes and perseverance, but as specifically tailored to maths as possible.
Fun facts about maths such as “the cuttlefish has mathematical ability of a toddler”.
Maths clocks – you can buy them online like this one or you can make you own with a dirt cheap clock making kit, easily bought online for under a fiver.
Quotes and facts about celebrities who love maths – see our article for inspiration!
Maths riddles on the whiteboard – change weekly? Feel free to get started with our most recent addition to the newsletter, our ‘Maths Riddles’.
Suggestions box – where kids can submit suggestions for areas in which they may be struggling especially. Obviously ConquerMaths can show teachers this at a glance but if you are not yet using the program or they are particularly worried the box can help.
Simple physical features such as a class birthday graph or ‘how tall am I?’ measured with string – best for younger kids.
If you have space, and the budget, you could try adding some mathematically themed knick knacks, rubicks cube, moebius strip, abacus – they may cost a little more but will be permanent additions to your classroom. (You’d be surprised what you can pick up cheap on Ebay!)
You can make a simple Sudoku board with removable numbers using laminated card and Velcro. See who figures it out first but get them to work it out on paper first or try and do it as a class.
Maths game/activity spinner wheel for choosing an end of day or week activity
A few hints for creating displays – display paper and spray mount can come in very handy. If you are laminating (usually works best) try and use matt laminating pouches to reduce light glare. Coloured card is cheaper than printing out, but ready made images online can also be a godsend. There are decals which can go on the wall available online, but they're not that cheap and may not be mathemtically correct. A little imagination and thought about how to use the space available to you, and you can make a real difference to your classroom.
One last important hint - ask your students what they would like and even ask them to help you decorate, they will appreciate it - after all it's their classroom too!