Home » 5 ways children can use mini dry wipe boards in Maths

5 ways children can use mini dry wipe boards in Maths

I recently recalled a discussion with a maths advisor about the different ways we can use paper exercises and worksheets with children and how it influences their learning and thinking processes. This memory was triggered by a quote from Henry Petroski, an engineer and historian, who studied the origins of erasable pencils. Petroski said, “The pencil embodies the pure, direct path of thought, ever malleable and amendable. Ink, by contrast, marks a point of commitment and finality, each stroke an indelible declaration.” I interpret this as recognising that there is a difference between ‘learning’ and ‘performing’ when we make children write.

The mini dry wipe board with its intrinsic impermanence, is like the pencil. It can balance out a reliance on worksheets and submitting ideas for marking in maths, instead allowing children to explore ‘what could it be?‘ and ‘what if?’ ideas with less risk, boosting their confidence. A classroom environment that values risk-taking nurtures creativity and critical thinking, essential skills for lifelong learning and problem-solving.

So, here are some ways you could make use of those useful little ‘thought boards’ in Maths lessons.

By asking children to write down and share the steps they take to solve a problem, their thinking is made visible in a more collaborative way than ‘show your working’ to be marked after the lesson.

  • Benefits:
    • Immediate feedback for teachers.
    • Encourages all students to participate.
    • Allows for quick identification and correction of mistakes.

If a group of students each have their own dry wipe board then then they combine them to explain how they solved a more complex problem. One child could perhaps use different symbols and pictures on their board to supplement numbers and operations on another to help explain how they were thinking as a group.

  • Benefits:
    • Promotes teamwork and communication.
    • Helps students learn from each other.
    • Engages students in collaborative learning.

Use mini dry wipe boards for daily math drills, such as quick addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems.

  • Benefits:
    • Reinforces fundamental math skills.
    • Allows for repetitive practice without wasting paper.
    • Makes learning fun and interactive.

Visual learning and drawing

Have students draw shapes, graphs, or diagrams related to math concepts like geometry, fractions, or data representation.

  • Benefits:
    • Enhances understanding of visual and spatial aspects of math.
    • Makes abstract concepts more concrete.
    • Engages students who are visual learners.

Give students problems to solve on their mini dry wipe boards and then display the correct answers for self-checking. If they are struggling at first, they know they can remove their errors and start again with a ‘clean slate’. Encourage them to try and remind them their responses are not being kept, as they are still learning.

  • Benefits:
    • Provides immediate, low risk, self-assessment opportunities.
    • Encourages students to take responsibility for their learning.
    • Helps teachers quickly gauge student understanding.
    • If they make initial mistakes, they can erase them and not worry about submitting them to the teacher.

Additional Suggestions for Effective Use

  • Incorporate Technology: If you have a tablet or phone that can cast to the Interactive Whiteboard, you can use it to display student work from mini dry wipe boards for class discussion.
  • Vary Activities: Mix individual, pair, and group activities to keep students engaged.
  • Encourage Creativity: Allow students to use colours and drawings to express their mathematical thinking.

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