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4 Math-themed craft projects to try with your student

Julia Christensen is an experienced tutor and professional writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Try these tips to sneak some math skills into arts-and-crafts time

If your student is constantly crafting or obsessed with art projects, it may feel hard to bring other subjects into the mix. Combine her creative passion with different topics to increase overall understanding in varying aspects of academia, while still keeping her entertained. If your young student loves crafts but perhaps not math, combine the two with one of these four artistic projects:

1. Visualize fractions

Make fractions easy to understand by comparing them to a tasty treat! Have your student draw a circular food you typically serve in slices: pizza, cake or pie are good options, as is the inside of an orange. Cut the slices or wedges out of the drawing and write on the back what fraction of the whole it represents. Then let her piece parts of it back together and add the numbers on top to create the total fraction. If she puts back three of the eight pizza slices, for example, she has three slices labeled 1/8, which gives her 3/8 of the pizza.

2. Connect numbers with string

Cut out any shape on construction paper or card stock. Try linking it to the time of year by creating a shape reflecting an upcoming holiday, event or season. Using a hole punch, create holes near the edge of the paper all around. Decide on your math topic — counting, multiples, et cetera — and write numbers at varying holes. Make sure they are not listed in order. Give your student the shape and some yarn, then ask her to connect all the numbers in the right order. In the end, she should have a festive woven project.

3. Draw answers on animals

Have your student think of her favorite spotted or striped animal. Whether she likes zebras or cows, she can use the outline of an animal to answer basic math problems. Try finding an outline of the animal online — look up the name of the animal plus the phrase "free coloring sheet" — and print off several copies. Write a basic math problem above the animal, and have her answer it by drawing the correct number of spots or stripes. If she’s feeling creative, she can add in other details to the picture as well.

4. Incorporate math tools into drawing time

If your student is constantly doodling, give her a few math-focused tools and let her get to work. Graph paper, compasses, rulers and protractors can be used to create some unique geometric designs. Don’t forget, you don't need to stick with a No. 2 pencil. Colored pencils or even markers would give it a fun twist.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.

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