Mathematics menus - an outstanding support structure
Updated: Jul 27
Struggling to find time to extend those young math literate students? Needing more time to help those who are not as quick? Wanting to differentiate and give students choice as well? Then look no further!
A particularly useful and simple method to help students extend their learning and try to do something a bit different. When I first saw these mathematics from another teacher, I got very keen and interested because they make differentiation on the fly as easy as snapping your fingers. Therefore, over time I developed my own versions of these math menus and while I am still extending them to further grades and hopefully even to science in the future. For now, the current set of grade 2 mathematics menus I have crafted serve as an inspiration for myself and hopefully others to use this excellent teaching tactic and support.
What is a mathematics menu?
A mathematics menu is basically a choice board of activities on a given topic that students are able to select from and work semi-independently on whichever item(s) they would like to.
Why are they worth using?
Follow me over here for a moment and let’s go off-topic a little. You walk into a restaurant or cafe, the atmosphere is great, you sit down and get excited to look at… you thought it - the menu! However, when you look at it, there is only one item on there and you can either take it or leave it. That is how students often feel during mathematics lessons, one item and one way of doing the work. No more! Students can be given the excitement and chance to choose for themselves their way of learning and what they learn about in a structured manner with mathematics menus!
Mathematics menus provide an opportunity to support those who are high-achievers and gives them the opportunity to connect their learning to real-world applications and concepts. Further, if the mathematics menu has creative options, then it might also allow those more imaginative students a chance to flex their artistic muscles in math class. Giving students the chance to do interdisciplinary learning which I always find is an excellent idea whenever possible.
There are always topics that students need to learn about and mathematics is no exception, however once the absolute necessities are taken care of students might want to learn in different ways and have some freedom of choice about how they show their learning or what they learn about in a topic. The mathematics menus provide this opportunity.
Math menus can even be aligned with state standards that need to be hit. Targets that are required to be covered and make sure the content is covered at several different times and in different ways to help ensure student learning of these critical items. The mathematics menus I am developing are currently aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and I hope to make science menus which align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the future.
I have set up the menus that I am currently selling in such a way that they are in a 3 x 3 grid in order that students can simply cross out those that they complete, or possibly a pair of students could use this menu as a game of tic-tac-toe on what they are completing. That could add another small element of competition between friendly and capable students.
Have you had your own experience with mathematics menus and would like to discuss it or share your experience and opinion on them, then please comment or get in touch with me.
If you would like to try a free math menu, then my grade 2 addition mathematics menu is completely free to download link here.
For the full bundle of grade 2 mathematics menus which have more options and a great discount, then that link is here.
Or if you prefer the link for grade 3 menus. These are here instead.
More recently, I have even made a grade 1 set - those are here.
Thanks for reading.
Cheers and stay curious
Oliver - The Teaching Astrophysicist
(Note: This blog post was NOT generated by AI and is conceived, typed and uploaded by a real person.)