Enrichment Tips for High-Achieving Math Students

Within an elementary math classroom, students are working on various levels. It is often easy to focus on the needs of struggling students and overlook the needs of high-achieving students. But their needs are important too! When not met, boredom and behavior issues can occur. Plus their untapped potential isn’t being realized.

High-achieving students need opportunities that challenge them and improve their math skills, developing higher-level thinking while still keeping math fun. This does not always mean giving work at a higher grade level. There are many ways to provide enrichment within their current grade level. Here are a few of those ways: 

  • Encourage these students to dive deeper into the problems that they solve: While all students should regularly engage with open-ended problems, discussion questions, and real-world applications regularly, high achieving students may be able to deepen their thinking with questions like these: 
    • What are other ways you could have solved this problem?
    • What methods could be used to prove the answer is correct? 
    • Give the students a line of various shapes. Have them classify/group them and explain their choice.
    • Give problems such as, “Two numbers add together to make 18. What could those two numbers be?” or “Susie has $0.85. What coins could she have?” Have the students give multiple answers to broaden their thinking. 
    • A web search for “open-ended math discussion questions or problems for elementary math” will provide a plethora of ideas to use. 
    • Have high-achieving students include real-world examples within their classwork. For instance, they could choose a few basic fact problems they’ve completed in the assignment. Then the students could write or draw an example of how those numbers could be used in the real world, demonstrating the relevance of math in everyday life. 
  • Mystery numbers: Have students brainstorm answers for problems such as: “The mystery number is less than 100, but greater than 60. It’s an odd number with an eight in the ten’s place. To find the number in the one’s place, you add three and one. What is the mystery number?”
  • Webquests and Escape Room Activities: These are a fun way for students to practice applying mathematical skills to hypothetical real-world problems. Be sure all of the links work within the webquest before students begin. 
  • Have students use what they’re learning in class to create game show-style learning games like Jeopardy, Kahoot!, Quizizz, Gimkit, etc. This allows them to utilize their knowledge in a fun way. After you’ve reviewed the content for accuracy, you’ll have a game for the whole class to enjoy together. 
  • Find opportunities in local and international competitions, such as the USA Math Olympiad, MathCounts, or the International Mathematical Olympiad. These provide an opportunity for high-achieving students to use their current knowledge and be inspired to learn even more to excel in the competitions. 

At ORIGO, we offer a variety of enrichment resources. Our Stepping Stones curriculum includes suggestions for differentiating each lesson. Our supplemental resources provide even more enrichment opportunities for all students, including your high-achieving math students. Check out The Book and Box of Facts: Addition and Subtraction, The Book and Box of Fact Strategies Multiplication and Division, and The Think Tanks

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ORIGO Education has partnered with educators for over 25 years to make math learning meaningful, enjoyable and accessible to all.

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