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 These are the students who are usually out in the hall for misbehaving, quiet and withdrawn because they don’t know the answers or complaining of headaches or stomach problems from the suffering of learning math.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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Darren, do you still have any of your lesson plans and Mnemonic Devices to teach math? I can’t get the brickschool.ca to come up. Maybe the server is down.

Thank you,

Jean

It appears that Darren’s domain name is no longer active. However, you can find Darren on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/people/Darren-Michalczuk/554943652

Hope that helps!

-Admin

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