Tag: Calculators

Children Don’t Need Calculators To Learn Math!

I received a request to share an article with all of you from NannyPro.com. They’ve published an article and thought it would be a good fit for you, the readers of our blog. I read through it and agree that it is appropriate and a good fit. So without further ado, here it is:

Why Every Kid Should Be Able to Do Math Without a Calculator

by Michelle

In a highly-advanced technological age where every child seems to have a smartphone complete with a powerful calculator in their pocket, it may seem silly to make sure that they still are able to do math without the assistance of a calculator. However, there are plenty of reasons why children should know how to solve basic equations without a computer’s intervention. Regardless of how ubiquitous calculators and calculating software seem to be, there are things that a child simply can’t learn from plugging numbers in and instantly receiving an answer.

Learning to Operate in the Real World

While it’s quite likely that your child will almost always have access to a calculator of some sort in his adult life, it’s still important that he have at least a basic understanding of how to work out simple mathematical equations. Technology isn’t infallible, and there may come a time when he needs to come to a numerical conclusion and has no access to a calculator. When children rely on technology to do all of their work for them, they’re missing out on necessary life skills.

Learning Real Skills Versus Learning to Operate Software

A 2007 report by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance to Congress shows that 16 of the best and most powerful reading and math learning software programs had no measurable effect on test scores. Students learned how to operate the software to obtain the desired affects, but not to apply the underlying concepts in daily life. No matter how well your child learns to solve equations on his calculator, he will essentially be missing the most important part of the exercise: how the solution is found. Kids can’t watch a calculator perform equations in real-time or observe the various steps in between. They simply enter a set of numbers, and another is returned to them. Manipulating a calculator with speed and accuracy doesn’t necessarily indicate that your child has the first idea of how to complete that same equation with a pencil and paper.

Obtaining Higher Education

Kids as young as those in elementary school are given calculators as a part of their curriculum, a practice that’s often continued all the way up to high school. What parents may not realize, however, is that many university math departments do not allow the use of a calculator. When a high school honors student is struggling merely to pass his first math classes in college, the hit to his self-esteem alone could affect his performance in the realm of higher education. Introductory collegiate mathematics classes generally ban calculator use, largely because in higher math the numbers are secondary to the abstract equations. For a science or mathematics-based major, the ability to understand the basic parts of an equation is essential. A calculator is of absolutely no use beyond introductory calculus, nor will it help a physics student find the answers they’re looking for. Instilling basic, core competency in these areas from a younger age and actively using those skills throughout high school far better prepares a young student to explore an education beyond the walls of that high school.

In an educational environment that relies largely upon calculators in the classroom, figuring out a way to instill basic mathematical principles and an appreciation for arriving at a solution through figuring it out independently isn’t easy. As long as calculator use is encouraged, and even required as part of a public curriculum, the responsibility to teach and reinforce basic equation-building and mathematical skills will fall upon the shoulders of parents. When your child protests that calculators are everywhere and he’ll never need to know how to work out a problem manually, explaining all of the reasons why he should still acquire these skills may help to soothe his indignation.

If you’d like to see the article at NannyPro.com’s  site, you can view it here: http://www.nannypro.com/blog/why-every-kid-should-be-able-to-do-math-without-a-calculator/

Of course if your child needs a boost in their math proficiency confidence – we are always ready to help them at Mathnasium.com/cherryhill.

Have a great day!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn Math The Right Way – Crawl Walk Run

Lots of folks complain that it isn’t easy to learn math, but I found this article that may just help explain why some folks think it’s hard!

Learning Math is Difficult For Many People – Knowing Why Can Make Mathematics Easy and a Lot of Fun
by Isabel Ambrocio

Mathematics is a language, but it can not be learned the same way most languages are learned. Mathematical principles and concepts must be learned in a specific order. Much like the way we learned to walk. When we were learning to walk we found that we had to crawl first, if we went too fast and tried to stand or walk before we were ready we fell and got a boo boo. The same is true for math, except if we jump ahead of our selves or miss something along the way, we don’t fall and get a boo boo, we begin to believe that we are just no good at it.

To prove my point about the need to learn mathematical concepts and principles in a particular order, most City Colleges around America have elementary to high school level math classes that are offered to students that don’t have the required college level skills in mathematics needed to enter the college system. So the problem is real and recognized by Authoritative Institutions. Mathematical concepts need to be learned in a particular order no matter how intelligent you are. Trying to become proficient in mathematics by learning random bits and pieces will be very difficult if not impossible. Each level in mathematics requires a working knowledge of all the prior levels.

Because Mathematics is a language, you also need to immerse yourself in solving math problems to become proficient. Doing this is a lot easier these days with the aid of the Internet and calculators that do symbolic manipulation. Spending at least one to four hours a day working math problems, everyday, will develop and reinforce the skills needed to become proficient in math. Why so much time? To build, what I like to call, brain circuits.

Solving a problem requires a number of steps to be taken by the brain. Simply put, to solve “1+1=2” the brain needs to look at each character and then calculate what actions to take. If this is the first time attempting to solve this type of equation the brain has not connected up the wires or developed the circuits yet, it resorts back to circuits it has used in the past when attempting to do new things. Try writing with your other hand. Most will find it very difficult. That’s because the brain has not developed the circuits yet to perform the task. As the brain creates and hard-wires the correct circuits used to solve the mathematical problems your working on your mathematical abilities will grow, and as a side benefit, those same circuits will aid in other brain functions. But like everything in nature, the brain is very conservative.

The brain is not going to create and hook up circuits unless there is a real need for them. You need to let the brain know you mean business. The way you do this is by forcing the brain to work on math problems. The brain does not like change, so it will produce chemicals that will make this uncomfortable for you. You must fight back and continue. Soon the brain’s own need to be conservative will require it to build the circuits needed to more efficiently solve these problems. Result, you get better. And if you do things right and stick with it, the brain will become proud of these new circuits it has built and begin to produce chemicals that will make you feel real good. In the beginning it will be hard, but after a bit you’ll enjoy the brains reward. Video game developers have learned how to trigger these chemicals in the brain via their software. That’s why kids will spend hours, even days, in front of a monitor pushing buttons on a game pad.

Building circuits in the brain takes a lot of hard work and time. It took all of us years to learn to walk, talk, write, and perform many other abilities we take for granted. We learned most of these abilities when we were very young. It was called play time. It was fun, exiting and we couldn’t wait to get started. We also had many examples to draw from, people were walking, talking and doing things that helped us see how others performed these tasks we were trying to do. Not true with math. There’s the math book from school, well people with the IQ of a thousand don’t seem to have a problem with it so who am I to complain?

We learn best by example. Here’s the dilemma, there are not too many TV shows dedicated to mathematical problem solving. There are not even too many math courses dedicated to mathematical problem solving. There’s a teacher going at the speed of light spewing out concepts and principles while you try to listen and write at the same time. That’s not the best learning environment for mathematics. Thank God math is so easy or we’d be in trouble. Maybe it’s not you, you may have the makings of a brilliant mathematician, but have never been in a suitable situation to learn.

Solution, look at the answers to as many problem as possible and see how those answers were found. Use the Internet to study ahead of your class, so you’ll know whats being talked about when your instructor buzzes by at the speed of light with new concepts and principles. Remember, one missed item, principle or concept and you won’t be prepared for the next level. It’s very possible that your very good at math, it may be that the tools and road map to learn are missing.

Most problems encountered in learning upper level math come from not fully understanding elementary math. Algebra requires proficiency in elementary math, calculus requires proficiency in both elementary math and algebra. Most kids in elementary school can’t see the importance of math, so they lack the effort. Kid in high school don’t have time for math, so they do the minimum to get by. Then these young men and women, now ready to enter college, feel they are just no good at math, so they opt for other majors. Has a future Einstein been lost to this chain of events.

Take all this into account when learning math and you will find that mathematics is easy and fun. You may have to start at the beginning to find those concepts or principles you missed but you’ll find it pays off as you develop those mathematical skills with easy. But be careful, once you start discovering new things in the universe with your newly developed mathematical skills the brain chemical awards you will receive can become very addictive.

We have set up a website for inventors and people interested in how things work. At http://www.6pie.com you’ll find videos, tutorials, and information about physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and alternative energy. Also commonly used formulas and data. Ohm’s Law, Faraday’s Law, Maxwell’s equations and more. Knowledge is power.

So there you have it! Now you know that t’s not really hard to learn math! So go get ’em!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,