The joy of laughter is not to be denied even in the learning environment. I like to think pupils are laughing with me when I crack my latest mathematical based jokes, even with comments like “Miss, that’s your worst one yet”, I know they enjoyed it really!
We have developed a few ideas of how jokes can be used in the classroom to motivate and engage learners, as well as creating a great atmosphere!
1) Collect a letter
This is a slight adjustment to a normal worksheet with each answer there is an accompanying letter and the next question.
Changing numbers to and from standard index form
2) Hunt a joke
This can be the easiest way to liven up a activity which at NumberLoving we call “bog standard worksheet” into a motivating and engaging activity.
Simply take the answers in order, to any worksheet and match them each with a word (if enough words, letters if not) on laminated cards that have been placed on the walls around the classroom. When pupils have completed their work and had it marked they can then move around the rooms collect the words or letters in the order of the answers to form the joke or secret message.
Check out this simplifying surds worksheet, which is differentiated to three levels of difficulty, hunt cards and solutions.
3) Treasure hunt
You may have already seen our treasure hunt resources. This is a slight adaptation, in which with each treasure hunt card a word from the joke or a letter to punch line is added to each card.
For a healthy supply of those all important mathematics jokes check out this forum discussion on the TES as well as this previous post on maths jokes.
My favourite “What did the zero say to the eight?”
Punchline; “Nice belt”
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Bringing jokes into the maths classroom can not only create a great atmosphere it can test pupils understand or even more revealing can they think ‘outside the box’.
Mr Barton has a great collection of maths jokes on his site, from those useful at keystage 3, 4 and 5. Here is a great forum chat from TES registered teachers with great contributions of maths jokes. Check out Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks.
Jokes for KS3
What did the zero say to the eight?… Nice belt
Jokes for KS4
What did the eight say to the infinity?….Are you drunk again?
“What did the circle say to the tangent?………..Eeee stop touching me!”
My all time favourite and incorporated into a free collect a joke surds classroom activity (see here)
I was in a queue for a night club when these two guys in front of me started arguing. The first guy pushed the second and said “four, nine”. The second guy pushed back and said “sixteen and twenty-five”. The next thing the bouncer was on his walkie talkie and he said “I need some back up at the door, there are two blokes here squaring up to each other”.
My year 11 class gave me some stick about that one, but I know they were laughing really!
Jokes for A’ Level/Adults
Check out #mathjokes on twitter for math jokes, be warned not all are suitable for pupils and like all twitter matters content can be varied.
Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.