# Month: January 2011

## Can Learning Math Really Be Fun For Your Children?

Being someone who truly enjoys mathematics, I found this article very interesting! Not so sure about the abacus recommendation though!  😉
Check out John Arkin’s take on how to make learning math fun for children.
(I found the article at goarticles.com)

3 Fun Math Activities for Kidsz   by John C Arkin

Mathematics is said to be the study of the structure, change, quantity and space. Mathematicians, or those who work in this field, tend to study patterns and conjectures using the principles of deduction derived from definitions and axioms. Looking at this definition of mathematics, you will certainly remember those days when you were dreaded by the thought of learning math. Well, your kids may be feeling the same way at this point.

Luckily however, more and more kids have already appreciated math and even looked at it as a favorite subject in school. In fact, news by the Associated Press showed that a study made in UK found out that kids were better at math and worse in reading. Therefore, if you want your kids to hone their skills in mathematics, you have to start while they are young and you have to make the learning process as fun as possible.

Activity 1 – Use tools that you can find at home

Learning math starts from counting objects found at home. You can use “pick-up sticks” to help your child learn the art of counting. As for basic additions and subtractions, you can always use the traditional abacus (or even those that can be bought via school supply stores).

Activity 2 – Interactive math lessons

There are many Internet sites that can help you with this type of math activity for your kids.

1. Math Cats. This is a site which promises fun math activities for kids. It has thinking games such as “Math Cats Love MicroWorlds”, “Math Cats’ Attic”, “Math Cats’ Art Gallery”, “Math Crafts” and “Math Cats Love Mail”. Click over any of these activities and you will have many game choices.

2. Cool Math Games. This site is loaded with interactive games not only for learning math but for other subjects as well. Learn about numbers through Cool Math Games by using the featured number games in the site. Fraction Splat, Fractone and Crazy Taxi are just examples of the games offered by the venue.

3. Math Playground. In here, you will be given the chance to use tools such as “Thinking Blocks”, “Computation”, “Flash Cards”, “Manipulatives” and “Worksheets”. Logic puzzles, word problems, math videos and math games are available online as well. The site also has educational products for its patrons.

4. Kids Math Games. This site lists a number of other sites that can make math learning fun for your kids. Making a graph worksheet can also be accessed via the site. Learning to count is made fun and easy by Kids Math Games as well.

When you are opening the computer to look for math worksheets, make sure that your child is part of the activity. That way, he can choose the type of worksheet he wants. There are some Free Printable Math Worksheets specifically made for the current grade level your child is in.

Above all these enumerated math activities for kids, it is important that you are there to assist your child while learning. Work together and know more about fun math games that you can use online.

More information on the subject is at 3 Fun Math Activities for Kidsz, and related resources can be found at Discount HDMI Cables.

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## The Beauty of Mathematics

Today I’d like to share a video I found on youtube.

It’s called the Beauty of Mathematics and shows how mathematical equations can be rendered by graphics on the computer.

Enjoy!

## Must A Child Be Gifted to Learn Math?

You’ve probably heard the expression from time to time that this child is “gifted” in math. Is that really what has helped the child learn math or could it be something else?

I was reading an article at ezine articles.com which discusses this topic. I’m posting it here for your consideration.

The Act of Learning Math
By Etan Savir

What is learning math all about? What’s the basic idea we need to help our children be successful in math? What’s the secret to math ability?

In the United States, most people, most teachers, most students, believe that learning math is about developing understanding of certain concepts of principles.

There is a pervasive belief that a certain type of innate math ability, the much desired trait of “Being Good at Learning Math,” is the key to success. And the lack of it is the cause of frustration and failure in this subject.

But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Just Like Riding a Bike
Think of teaching a child to ride a bike. What are the conditions for success? There are three.

First, the child needs to have already mastered a set of motor skills that are prerequisite to riding the bike. He or she needs to be able to walk and run already, so that the strength and endurance to turn the peddles are in place. He or she needs the gross motor coordination to hold the handles tight, peddle, and turn the head a bit, all at the same time. He or she needs enough sense of balance so that the potential to stay up is there. So, we need prerequisite skills.

Second, we need developmental readiness. There’s a point in maturity when the child is ready and able to put it together to make the step of taking off the training wheels.

Third, we need some kind of technique to help the child to get going. An approach that will make it relatively easy to get started. A system that will make failure less likely. Like taking the child to an open level place without cars. Like running along holding the back of the bike, gradually letting go for longer and longer. Like keeping up the words of encouragement.

What about the screaming, the tears, the spending weeks or months over it? Probably the child simply wasn’t ready for it. It’s like picking cherries: when they’re ready, they come right off in your hand. If you have to pull hard, it’s because they’re not ready yet.

But What About Natural Math Ability?
What about natural ability? OK, a very coordinated child might learn very young. Might teach himself. Who knows? Think you can look at a bunch of ten year olds, twenty year olds, thirty year olds … and tell who learnt to ride at four or five or six?

I doubt it.

With unusual talent, the child can learn faster, easier, a bit younger. But none of this is likely to matter much in the long run.

With the developed skills in place and an OK teaching technique, really almost anyone can learn to ride.

What about the concepts? You think the child understand how the bike works? I only do in a vague way myself? I’m sure I don’t understand why it’s easier to balance when you’re going faster than when you’re going slower. You really don’t need to understand “the why and the how” to be able to do it.

Natural ability makes it easier, but isn’t the main thing. Conceptual understanding isn’t the main thing. The main thing is sound prerequisite skills, developmental readiness, and some sensible approaches to instruction.

Now here’s the scary part. Most math students in our schools are hitting the material without the necessary prerequisite skills, without developmental readiness, and without satisfactory approaches to education. This is pattern of math education is what is really behind the current “math anxiety” crisis in American schools.

Etan Savir is a 15-year math educator, math curriculum consultant, math textbook contributor, and currently the math department chairman at a K-12 college prep school in suburban Baltimore, Maryland.

He is also the editor of http://www.sensible-math-education.com, a web site devoted to helping parents understand the fundamental math skills their children should master in each grade and math course. “So many parents just don’t know what their children should learn in math. Once they have that figured out, helping their child achieve math education success is much easier.”

So there you have Etan’s view on the subject. He raised some interesting points. So do you agree that learning math is similar to learning how to ride a bicycle? And must we have the “prerequisites” in place to make the process successful?

I tend to agree with him. It seems that in today’s world the children are being forced to learn advanced math at a much younger age and we’re seeing children with many misunderstandings and frustrations in math. What do you think?

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## The New Way To Learn Math

Don’t you just hate having to memorize things? Especially things like the multiplication tables?  I know I don’t like it much so I was very interested in this article that teaches a new way for people to learn math. Check it out – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

A New Way to Learn Math- The Magical Math Story
By Darren Michalczuk

Some students struggle with math. These are the students who are usually out in the hall for misbehaving, quiet and withdrawn because they don’t know the answers or complaining of headaches or stomach problems from the suffering of learning math. The signs of poor math skills come in many forms, but the message is always the same. These students don’t understand numbers.

There is a way to reach these students. To help these students a teacher or parent needs to be patient, energetic and above all willing to think outside of the box. Traditional ways of teaching math simply will not work with these students. Here you will find an example of one the methods you can use to reach a student in elementary school. It is a method that has been refined over many years and has worked with hundreds of students.

There is a story, one of several stories, which actually changes how a child looks at math. Although it is an easy story to learn, it is very specific in design. It reaches auditory, kinesthetic and visual learners and includes mnemonic devices to make numbers easy to remember. It can reach students that have struggled with math for years. It is actually more effective with younger students as it helps create an understanding of math before bad habits like finger counting develop.

The story is simple: Your mother is chasing a spider around the house when she swings and accidentally breaks the window.

For parents, this story is one you can teach to a child anywhere such as in the car on your way to soccer practice, in the living room during a commercial or while taking a walk to the corner store. You can embellish the story and make it more personal, laughing about how much Mom freaks out about the spider. You can even have the child imagine the story in great detail, talking about how big the spider is and how loud it is when the window shatters. Although the core of the story can’t be changed, it is a story that will taught uniquely by each individual teacher or parent who will add their own style and energy.

This story includes several mnemonic devices. Each image represents a specific part of a math fact, for example the number eight is represented by a spider which has a body that looks like an eight and has eight legs. It includes personal connections (Mom), imagery (a black spider), and actions (breaking the window) which will make the story stick in both the short term and long term memory. It also uses tangible images like a golf club and a spider that can be remembered more easily than abstract concepts. In short, it is a story that can be easily remembered.

The usual way for a student to learn eight times nine is to add nine together eight times. Not only is this time consuming, it is also boring. By nature this method creates confusion with other math facts as none are distinct from the others. It is easy to mix up seven times eight with six times nine. The traditional method of drill and practice takes many hours and often only reaches a few of the students in a class.

In contrast, teaching math by using vivid images of a memorable story will produce markedly different results. When asked what eight times nine is a student will recall the image for eight (a spider) and nine (golf) and the story that goes with them. They will easily remember that the house (the bigger image) represents seventy as the roof is shaped like a seven and the window (the smaller image) represents two since it has two curtains. This connects all the numbers, making it easy to remember that eight times nine is seventy two. It will work for the reverse (division) just as easily. With less than twenty unique but specific stories to learn, learning the times tables can be a fun adventure.

With all due respect to the traditions that have been successful for many students, there is a way to reach those it hasn’t worked for.

Darren Michalczuk is the founder of the Brick School. He is an experienced classroom teacher who has developed many programs and resources for math, language and music. The Brick School offers quality educational posters, programs and worksheets online for elementary language arts, math and music. Materials are designed to promote effective learning strategies in an easy to understand, straight-forward format. They offer both practical solutions to learning problems and leading edge technology and techniques. It reaches both struggling students and those who need extra challenges in class.With the latest software and leading edge learning strategies, our materials are paving the way for learning. User-friendly porgrams give students instant feedback while they practice important basic skills. Lessons and study guides also include proven learning strategies and memories techniques. Please visit our website. http://brickschool.ca

So there you have it. I told you it was interesting – right? So do you think it would be easier for you to learn math this new way as opposed to doing the old memorization techniques? Drop me a comment here and let me know what you think?

Thanks and until next time … make every day count!

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