The mathematics laboratory is a place where anybody can experiment and explore patterns and ideas. It is a place where one can find a collection of games, puzzles, and other teaching and learning material. The maths lab provides an opportunity for the students to discover mathematics through doing.
Many school students even today express displeasure to learn math viewing it as dull and boring and lacking in application. To them math means either to get something right or wrong. When they get it wrong they view it as a failure and lose interest while there are other students who learn enough tricks to get through or score high in a math exam. Since schools are responsible to make students math confident, there is a great urgency on their part to create support programs designed to lead students to proficiency in math. These provide ample opportunities to the teacher to teach math in a different way say through activities and games. The goal of introducing these activities and games is to make math interesting and effective by providing a proper context for application. The setting up of a math lab takes this matter head on. It is a place for students to discover mathematics by doing. Appealing activities for a wide range of students with varying proficiency are introduced with the goal of generating further interest. These in turn help students to visualize, manipulate and reason. They provide opportunity to make conjectures and generalize observed patterns. Although math is not an experimental subject like physics, chemistry or biology a mathematical laboratory immensely contributes to the learning of mathematical concepts and skills.
1. It provides an opportunity to understand and internalize the basic mathematical concepts through concrete objects and situations.
2. It enables the students to verify or discover several geometrical properties and facts using models or by paper cutting and folding technique.
3. It helps the students to build interest and confidence in learning the subject.
4. The laboratory provides opportunity to exhibit the relatedness of mathematical concepts with every day life.
5. It provides greater scope for individual participation in the process of learning and becoming autonomous learners.
6. It provides scope for greater involvement of both the mind and the hand which facilitate cognition.
7. The laboratory allows and encourages students to think, discuss with each other and the teacher and assimilates the concepts in a more effective manner.
8. It enables the teacher to demonstrate, explain and reinforce abstract mathematical ideas by using concrete objects, models, charts, graphs, pictures, posters etc.
9. Math lab helps develop meta-cognitive abilities. As the student can rethink and rework the problem and solution several times without any interference from time constraints.