# 7 Engaging Hooks for Your Math Lesson Plans

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Do you remember the first time you walked into a math classroom as a teacher?

The sea of curious and sometimes anxious faces, the weight of responsibility to make math interesting and understandable, and the challenge to keep students engaged and motivated.

I still get butterflies when I think about it!

But what if I told you that there's a simple and powerful way to make a difference in your math classroom?

Yes, you read that right. A hook is a teaching strategy that grabs students' attention, piques their curiosity, and sets the tone for the rest of the lesson.

And in this blog post, we'll explore 7 of the best math lesson plan hooks that you can use to introduce a math lesson in a math classroom.

So let's dive in!

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## 1. Real-Life Applications

My favorite hook is introducing a math lesson with real-world problem or question for the topic that I'm teaching. This approach helps students see the relevance and importance of math in their daily lives and motivate them to learn.

To use a real-world problem or question as a hook, follow these steps:

• Identify a real-life situation or scenario that requires math skills. For example, you can use a problem about calculating the tip in a restaurant, comparing prices of different cell phone plans, or determining the best deal on a car loan.

• Make sure the problem is relevant to the math concept you want to teach and is at an appropriate level of difficulty for your students.

• Present the problem to your students and give them time to think and discuss it in pairs or small groups.

• Encourage students to share their ideas and solutions with the class, and facilitate a discussion about the mathematical principles involved.

• Connect the problem to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the real-world scenario.

For more ideas and resources on using real-world problems in math education, check out my 5 ways to integrate real-life applications into math lessons.

## 2. Videos

A well-chosen video can capture students' attention, spark their curiosity, and provide a visual representation of an abstract concept. In fact, research shows that using multimedia in teaching can improve learning outcomes and engagement.

There are many educational videos available online that you can use to introduce a math lesson. For example, you can use PBS Learning Media’s video tutorials on various math topics, such as fractions, decimals, or percents. YouTube Education is another great resource where you can find high-quality educational videos.

Here’s some tips for integrating videos in your lesson plan:

• Choose a video that is relevant to the math concept you want to teach. Make sure it is not too long (ideally less than 5 minutes) and has a clear and concise explanation.

• Preview the video beforehand to ensure it aligns with your teaching goals and learning objectives. If the video is on YouTube, consider turning on Restricted Mode to limit risk of exposure to objectionable content.

• Introduce the video to your students by providing context and setting expectations. For example, you can ask them to pay attention to a specific math concept or problem-solving strategy.

• After watching the video, debrief with your students by asking questions, summarizing the main points, and connecting the video to the lesson plan.

By using a short video clip as a hook, you can create a dynamic and interactive learning environment that engages students and enhances their understanding of math concepts.

## 3. Visuals

Using a visual aid, such as a diagram, graph, or chart, can help students make connections between abstract concepts and concrete representations.

To use a picture as a hook, follow these steps:

• Choose a picture that is relevant to the math concept you want to teach. For example, you can use a bar graph to introduce data analysis, a geometric shape to introduce measurement, or a coordinate plane to introduce graphing.

• Display the picture prominently in the classroom and encourage students to observe and describe what they see.

• Ask students to identify any mathematical patterns, relationships, or properties in the picture.

• Connect the picture to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the visual representation.

For more ideas and resources on using pictures in math education, check out Youcube’s Visual Mathematics.

## 4. Graphing Activities

But what if your students created the visuals? Graphing activities can be a fun and interactive hook to can help students develop their data analysis and visualization skills, and demystify complex concepts.

To use graphing activities as a hook, follow these steps:

• Design a survey or experiment related to the math concept you want to teach. For example, you can ask students to share their favorite hobbies, interests, or preferences. Or have students graph data from a short physics experiment.

• Use a tool, such as Google Forms or Excel, to collect the data and create a graph or chart displaying the results.

• Discuss the graph with the class and ask students to interpret the data. Connect the graph to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the survey results.

For more ideas and resources on using surveys and graphs in math education, check out Youcubed's Graphing Activities.

## 5. Thought-Provoking Questions or Statements

Another effective hook is a thought-provoking question or statement. The ensuing discussion can help students develop critical thinking and communication skills while building a sense of community in the classroom.

To use a question or statement as a hook, follow these steps:

• Select a thought-provoking question or statement related to the math concept you want to teach. For example, you can ask students to share their experiences with math, their attitudes towards math, or their prior knowledge of the topic.

• Provide students with time to think and reflect on the question or statement before sharing their thoughts.

• Encourage students to listen actively to their peers and respond respectfully to their ideas.

• Facilitate the discussion by asking probing questions, making connections between students' responses, and summarizing key points.

• Connect the discussion to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the topic of conversation.

For more ideas and resources on using discussions in math education, check out NCTM's Strategies for Discussion or Talking Math with Your Kids.

## 6. Games

Playing a game is a fun and engaging hook that can help students develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

To use a game as a hook, follow these steps:

• Find a math-related game that is relevant to the concept you want to teach. Make sure it's not too long (again, 5 minutes). For example, you can use a card game to teach fractions, a board game to teach probability, or an online game to teach algebra.

• Provide students with time to play the game and practice their math skills.

• Encourage students to reflect on their strategies and share their insights with the class.

• Connect the game to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the game mechanics.

For more ideas and resources on using games in math education, check out NCTM's Illuminations or Cool Math Games.

## 7. Kinesthetic Activities

Kinesthetic activities involve movement and physical engagement, making them a great hook for students who learn best through hands-on experiences.

To use kinesthetic activities as a hook, follow these steps:

• Find a math-related activity that involves movement or manipulatives. For example, you can use tangrams to teach geometry, base ten blocks to teach place value, or a human number line to teach addition and subtraction.

• Provide students with time to explore the activity and practice their math skills.

• Encourage students to reflect on their experiences and share their insights with the class.

• Connect the activity to the lesson plan and explain how the math concept relates to the physical manipulation.

For more ideas and resources on using kinesthetic activities in math education, check out AMLE’s Kinesthetic Activities in the Middle Grades.

## Free Lesson Plans with Engaging Hooks

Need lesson plans with engaging hooks built in?

I’ve written a series of free lesson plans that incorporate engaging hooks to introduce math concepts, particularly those that focus on real-life applications:

They’re designed to engage students with hands-on activities, visual arts, and real-life case studies—making it easy to create dynamic and interactive learning environments across a range of topics and grade levels.

Give them a try today!

## Hi, I'm Ping!

I spent 7 years in the classroom working to make math fun and relevant in middle school, by integrating math, art, and technology. I started Congruent Math to share this all with you.