How to teach children math so they don’t hate

Technical specialties are very popular now. In this regard, many parents are wondering about how to get children excited about math. Your answer offers the journalist Jennifer Doverspike. We offer an adapted translation of its articles.

My little daughter sitting at the kitchen table in front of book, pencil gripped in his left hand, a little tongue hanging out from thinking. She looks at me and says, “Mom, this is so cool!”. And going back to school. Line by line. Target by target. 9+1=_. 7+1=_. It stops squeaks with delight. Ominously whispers, “Now do 13 + 1!”.

I have read about how we in America teach maths. And I saw memes, program Common Core (a standard set of state educational standards in the United States — ed.). But I never thought to put together all my thoughts about this, until I saw the daughter, who happily and voluntarily to solve problems from the textbook Kumon.

I watched as she enthusiastically decides page after page and thought, “Honey, one day you’re going to hate this”. It scared me. Of course, to the formal study of mathematics in her school for several years. And what difference what program they are studying or what they see the teacher if she likes math enough to search for more puzzles. Apparently, she has a mathematical mind. Right?

A couple of years ago I wrote about the basics of literacy. One of the keys postulates that scholarship is not only sound and written memorization of words, although that is important. His role-play with using your imagination, because it increases situational vocabulary, and teaches children that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The last thing I would want my daughter to love reading and books of it knocked out countless subregime and tested spelling.

At school, my daughter is also playfully studying mathematics. Their teachers inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, for example, they teach addition, playing Board games, where you need to count how many squares forward pass. But I read article after article about education in the United States and begin to fear that in high school all again will be reduced to formulas and countless rows of tasks in the textbook.

It hits me right where it hurts. I hate math. Once at school she I was able, I even took math courses in the first year. But there are things that I was taught by the teacher only had enough to pass the exam and to forget everything the next day. Subjects related to algebra in high school, gave me to understand that I do not understand mathematics. I was able to calculate the derivative or integral, knew all the basic definitions, but I don’t “see” math the way that my colleagues in the group.

So if a daughter wants to learn, I would teach her. Give her the foundations of mathematical knowledge on the case, if the program can not cope with this. I want her to remember that mathematics is about problem solving and imagination, and the endless promise of more. Not just numbers on paper. At its current level, I don’t want her to remember that 5+3=8. I want her to know that 25+3=28 and 45+3=48, and why everything is so neatly and correctly arranged in our decimal number system. How do you do it?

1. Emphasize the beauty of mathematics

Musician wakes from a terrible nightmare. In it, he finds himself in a society where music education is a must. “We help students become more competitive in a world filled with sounds.” Teachers, schools and the state are responsible for this vital project. Educational programs of the Commission decision — this is without a single musician.

… Waking up in a cold sweat, the musician realizes that it was just a crazy dream. “Of course,” he mutters. — No society would drive such a beautiful, significant art to something so watered-down and banal. No culture could be so cruel to their children, to deprive them of such a wonderful, giving joy a means of expression. How ridiculous!”. On the other side of town from this dream woke painter… (excerpt from the book, Paul Lockhart’s “Lament mathematics”).

When I think about math, come to mind many rules, complicated structures, which have to pull out of the dusty corners of the brain to solve the problem before my eyes. Elementary mathematics is not so bad. Even with numbers, symbols, and legend, we can demonstrate the patterns and dependencies. But then what happens in most schools, writes Tara Holm in the Boston Globe, is a descent into mathematical Hades, a Death March, which goes to Calculus (math in us schools).

As soon as he started formula before the masters get a great temptation to March along this path. To avoid comprehensive explanations about the decimal system, large numbers or multiplication, or to put it far in then. As writes Andy Kiers in Business Insider, “formulas and algorithms are supplied without context or motivation, students are forced to memorize and apply them… This is all contrary to what is a science of mathematics. Mathematics is one of the most creative, poetic enterprises of man. And so it is taught in schools is a disaster.”

Visual materials (like beads or acorns) are often used in elementary school, for example, to show addition. So I taught the children to take their first steps. But some programs, like the Montessori system, is a step forward in this approach. This system uses self-correcting materials that introduce children to the basics of math before symbols and equations. Using “gold beads” Montessori children are taught the basics of the decimal system (this is an educational toy, where the beads are collected at ten in the segmented.).

When you’re a kid, you probably can’t appreciate the beauty of abstraction, as well as to understand the abstract concepts of mathematics. But in the Montessori system are doing the opposite. Visual learning toys themselves are beautiful and simple. Like math.

2. Understand the fundamentals

When Cheryl’s birthday? (favorite in the Internet logical tasked). When a task of a high school went viral, users were given conflicting answers, and some of the adults even panic or confusion. Given that the conditions it is quite mysterious, many wondered how it is possible in principle to come here to the correct answer?

I don’t think most adult Americans are able to solve this problem. In fact, because this task was not written for 11-year-old children in Singapore schools, as told by the Internet. It is the task of the school mathematical Olympiad. But I still mind that many adults don’t even know how to begin to address.

Between the counting beads to learn addition, and the study of symbols that represent the addition of a small abyss. For my daughter it was filled next to numeric 1 2 3 4 5 6. If you ask her what goes through two bars of 4, she would have said 6. Then, using the same numbers I show her that 4+2=6. Schools in Singapore have this “demonstration” phase, which fills this gap. A simple arithmetic equation are illustrated with simple graphs.

The same Golden beads Montessori on simple and clear examples show the key fundamental principles of multiplication. The Singapore method of teaching, as well as gold beads, allows the student to finally understand how to simulate the response to a complex problem, such as “birthday Cheryl” without relying excessively on memorization of formulas. In this process of learning each new lesson builds on the previous one, as LEGO blocks.

But the problem is that teachers and parents are often confused in math, not to mention the methods of “visual learning” mathematics. To set the child a bad grade for writing 15=5+5+5 instead 15=3+3+3+3+3 — the problem is the teacher, not the standards of the educational system.

Another problem of our education system — the “spiral approach” is adopted in Singapore schools manners to sharpen the knowledge of each mathematical concept. Students saddled with more and more ideas, jumping from topic to topic, without understanding details, confining himself to a promise to return to the topic again next year… Many people recommend a program where the students are not required to immediately find the answer to the problem.

First you need to build a base for the solution and then to find the most effective way. Otherwise, the learning efficiency will be equal to what we plant, for example, third graders, divide them into groups and force them to deconstruct the allegory “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, the next day to get them to memorize the speech of Martin Luther King, and the knowledge to appreciate the essay on Shakespearean Comedy.

3. Install the Prodigy Math Game

With over 900 crucial math skills for Grades 1 – 8, Prodigy is the perfect game for mastering mathematics both at home and at school. All educational content in Prodigy is free, and will stay free forever! We only make money through a completely optional game upgrade, which only unlocks some extra content.

Aside from being the world’s most engaging math game, Prodigy also has these great features, all of which are available for free:
1. Full alignment with key curricula (e.g., Common Core, Ontario, TEKS, MAFS)
2. Automatic assessment in-game for all students to place them in the correct grade
3. 24/7 Real-time reporting
4. Embedded in-game formative, diagnostic, and summative assessments.

Each grade covers key mathematics topics that all students must master. For a complete breakdown of all 900+ skills, please visit​h-game

4. Tell stories
He told the story about Carl Friedrich Gauss, the famous German mathematics, which was born in 1777. When Gauss was a schoolboy, the teacher ordered to add up all the numbers from 1 to 100. The job was supposed to take an hour, but Gauss found the answer almost instantly. “Someone knows how he did it?”, asked Juarez Correa (famous Mexican teacher — ed.).

A few students tried to add numbers and soon realized that it takes a lot of time. Paloma, working with her group, carefully wrote down a few sequences, and then raised his hand: “the Answer is 5050. This is 50 pairs of 101”

Juárez Correa felt a small chill. He never encountered a student with such innate abilities. He sat down beside a student and asked why she was never interested in mathematics because mathematics obviously she could.

“Because nobody did the math interesting.” (story from Wired).

The best math programs emphasize “understanding of the concepts as a tool for the prediction, study and explanation of the world around.” Richard Rurik, the Creator of the school “the Art of solving problems (Art of Problem Solving) and her younger equivalent — Beast Academy, says it requires “creativity, talent, and energetic mental gymnastics”. It first presents students challenges and issues, and only after the students independently worked on them, they get the correct solution algorithm.

“The art of problem-solving” is designed for gifted students, but the child does not need to be gifted to get pleasure from Kitchen Table Math tutorial — introduction to mathematics for very young children. Growing up, they can also learn by tutorial series “Life of Fred” (Life of Fred). Its Creator, Stanley Schmidt believes that children should learn reading and steeped in history, samoosas along the way. Instead of forcing children to reflect on “Where we all might be useful”, these books show kids that they do math every day, just don’t realize it.

(At this point the editors modestly adds the enthusiastic passage of the children’s impressions from the series “Master of science scattered” where the main characters, getting into scrapes and adventures, learn about the fundamentals of mathematics and logic).

I am far from expert in math (remember, I hate it), so with my kids I will try to apply the approach “that seems to be the best” together with the fact that they will offer the school program. The kids and I play a lot with the accounts, subtracting and adding. For them it’s just another toy.

One of the most vivid impressions of my childhood: I came home and found a huge manually painted map of multiplication. The mother she so loved that her emotion was passed on to me, I would spend hours looking at dependencies. To this day I, the person who hates cramming, multiply like a boss.

In the process of writing, I tried to find a way to visualize addition. So I stuck a couple of tables on the rear wall, and forgot about them. Two days later, the daughter ran up to me, intrigued. “What are those numbers up there?”, she asked. I smiled and explained. “Show me how it’s done, ‘” said the daughter.

In the end, none of my kids does not have to be the best in their field, or be trained before their same age, or become super genome in math and science. But if the training is able to excite and surprise throughout life, so I must have done something right.