This was the count-down for CHANDRAYAAN II. On July 22, 2019, at 14:43 HOURS, a team of Indian scientists launched Chandrayaan II mission with this count down. It started with counting numbers, which is pure arithmetic. Why am I mentioning this? To bring home the fact that this part of the math classes by children in their formative years, stays relevant and it is an integral part of your life and career, irrespective of the field you choose to be in. Not only for such critical missions, where even a Nano-second matters, but even in your routine day-to-day life, knowledge of math plays a very important role. Be it your time-management for the day, buying vegetables from a vendor, paying for the laundry, or paying wages to your help, you have to understand math.
As you all know, Math consists of:
- Co-ordinate geometry.
Looking at its applications, it clearly implies that the study of MATH is very important. Importance of math is further highlighted that both parents and teachers start teaching arithmetic to children at a very early age because they have learned with their experience that it helps in every aspect of their life. Let me share a few ways to improve the learning of math in children.
Methods of Learning Math in Early Childhood.
It should not come as a surprise if I say that involved parents start exposing their children to arithmetic even before children can even speak properly. They start their children on a counting spree, by using their fingers and mouthing numbers ONE – opening one finger, TWO – opening two fingers and so on. The whole exercise starts with children looking at, say, one toy and parents encouraging them to say ONE, and as mentioned above, holding out one finger. Then TWO, then THREE and so on. Before you realize, children get into the habit of counting their possessions on their fingertips.
Similarly, parents start encouraging them to go on to add; One car and One more car? How many cars you have? TWO…..then see the glee on the face of small children, glee of achievement. Without realizing, before long, children start counting numbers, adding numbers, and then they move on to subtracting also. “You have three cars if I take one away from you, how many are you left with?
The answer of-course is – TWO, however, it’s the sense of achievement that children experience what sets them on the tract of enjoying math and then learning it.
There are many other ways that parents help their children to learn math at home, while they are growing. Let me list a few for your guidance:
Read with children:
When you start your children with the habit of reading storybooks with them, you have already made them curious to learn more. Have we all not grown up reading children’s stories and in those stories you learnt words used which are educative? There were numbers used. Snowhite and the seven dwarfs, Goldilocks and the three bears, Alibaba aur Forty Chorand the likes. This increases the curiosity in the minds of children, they start looking for important words and numbers in other stories. (Arithmetic). Similarly, there are some poems which encourage counting; One, Two – tie my shoe, Three, Four – shut the door… etc.
1. Taking them out on a family outing:
Again parents can use this opportunity to encourage children to learn to count. How many cars in front of us? How many cars will overtake us in the next 10 minutes? Count different makes of cars and identify different colours and tell me! Ask children to read the number plates? How many cars have their registration numbers ending with even numbers and how many with odd numbers? In fact, you can teach your children distance calculations, time calculations while on a long drive, say from Delhi to Chandigarh. Your imagination sets the limit. (Math with Logic).
2. Allow them to ask you questions:
Children are generally curious. Allow them to ask questions. These could be science-based, math-based, any which way it helps children with their cognitive development. Helps your toddler’s mental capacity to solve problems, language acquisition, learning about objects. This keeps their brains healthy for all-round development. (Analytical ability).
3. Give them toys:
helps them to understand what is a round object? A sphere will roll with very little force. You can control the ball from rolling by holding it. (Geometry).
Blocks also play an important role in helping children in understanding shapes, such as square, rectangular, spherical, triangles. If you help children a little more they can learn about the angles etc. They will then be able to identify cones etc. also. (Geometry).
Best way to encourage children to develop their logical thinking – give them puzzles to solve. Initially, the simple ones and then keep making these more complicated. I have seen small children, 8/9 years old solving Rubik’s Cubes with ease. This again is a step towards learning math. (Helps you to develop concentration – so essential in solving problems. The solution is based on a mathematical structure called a GROUP).
Encourage them to help you with the household chores
Simple things, pick up the laundry and count the number of clothes, lay the table for FOUR with plates and cutlery matching as per the requirement. Check with them as to how long it took them to clean their room? Fifteen minutes. Can we do it in 12 minutes tomorrow? Tell them to arrange their wardrobe and keep asking “how many shirts you have? How many shorts you have? Do you have enough undergarments? Without letting the child realize, to start with, you have encouraged them to learn the basics of arithmetic. Isn’t it a fun way to learn? And, you have encouraged your child to be self-dependent. The knowledge also helps to build up self-confidence in children.
The real benefit is it helps develop patience, concentration and in turn the IQ. Click here to know more about different ways that make maths interesting for children.
Keep it simple:
- Parents, during pre-kindergarten years of their children, can use their imagination and encourage their children to start on math, early in life. Such children will find it very interesting coping with the classwork once they start going to school. Their hands will go up, with great confidence, when the teacher will ask for simple solutions for a number related problem.
This will help in developing self-learning in your children which will stay with them for life. Please avoid exposure to calculators for as long as you can.
This brings me to another aspect of Math learning in childhood. Parents and teachers are making it fun to learn. Children will not shy away from learning more of Math as they grow. Click here to know the reasons why kids struggle in maths.
The more complicated branches of Math as listed in the beginning.
Some of the learning theories which help your children learn better:
1. VAK Learning
While doing this, you have unwittingly, applied a few of the learning theories. The first one listed above is VAK – Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. You showed the children the numbers written on the books, or you wrote them on a paper (Visual). Then you spoke out the numbers (Auditory), and finally while you encouraged the children to play with the toys, handling them, counting them – this was Kinesthetic. This is very useful at the understanding stage.
2. Immersive Learning:
This is a very effective way of teaching Math to children. Set aside time for your children to do their practice at home as well at school. Teachers keep children engaged with the curriculum related math problems and solutions, parents at home keep them busy doing day-to-day calculations as already mentioned above, like counting laundry clothes, table setting related to number of persons who shall be eating the meal, counting their toys, books, clothes etc. and keeping a count to encourage them to look after their things. Both parents and teachers also give them problems to solve to keep children thinking of math most of the time. Expose them to books on Math wizards, talk about our great ancestors who have contributed to our mathematical thoughts over centuries. After all, ARYABHATA was the first to effectively use ZERO in mathematical calculations! This is a useful way of generating interest in the subject. This is the precursor for higher learning.
3. Experiential Learning:
One of the most effective ways of teaching math to children is through Experiential Learning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Children have to be encouraged to REMEMBER. Recall facts and basic concepts. At an early stage, we encourage children to learn by rote – reciting tables loudly in a group.
Let the children UNDERSTAND the process. Explain ideas or concepts. We test their ability by exposing them to tests as we go along.
Help them to then APPLY it. Use the information in the NEW situation.
Next step is for them to ANALYSE concept. Make connections with the ideas.
Next comes their ability to EVALUATE. Justify a stand or the viewpoint.
Finally, they learn the concepts so well that they can CREATE – produce or generate new or original work.
We have spoken so much about parents and teachers roles in teaching math to children, in-fact, children themselves can learn so much more by paying attention to some of the following suggestions. You will notice that some of these methods will be useful for learning their other subjects as well. So please put these into practice:
1. Be Regular with your Studies:
It’s very important that you, students, do your homework regularly daily. In fact, spend extra time for each of these subjects, regularly and you will find your selves ahead of the class, always. Learning will become easy.
2. Find a friend to be your Study Partner:
Math is best understood when you learn in a group. Initially learning by rote and then by understanding and there is no better way than doing it with friends.
3. Do not Keep Doubts with you:
You must clarify your doubts by seeking help from those who know the subject. It can be your parents, elder sibling, a partner or your teacher who has taught the concepts to you. Even if one wrong way of doing mathematical problems creeps in your early days, this will create havoc with your learning the next steps in learning math. So, please do not hold your doubts with you. Have these sorted out at the earliest.
4. Analyse and Understand Every Mistake:
Once you seek clarification on your doubts, or your work has been corrected, you must develop a habit of analyzing the mistake and then understand as to how the problem had to be approached and solved.
No subject, in particular math, can be learned without dedication. Keep at it till the concepts are clear in your mind and you are able to utilize the understanding in different situations with ease. Practice, practice and practice some more till the concepts are clear in your mind.
6. Healthy Attitude:
For learning math, you have to have a healthy attitude towards the subject. Remember, this one subject will stay with you for life. You have to learn to enjoy it
7. Learn by Understanding:
Do not memorize by rote (after the initial stages), gain conceptual clarity right in the beginning. For instance, for FORMULAS, take a look at their derivation and understand the actual meaning of the formula. This will help you to remember it well.
Maplemaths, a program offered by Winaum Learning helps you with the art of learning math in a play-way, to generate interest in your learning of math. They give you methods to solve mathematical calculations so that, not only you solve your sums accurately but also much quicker than the others! Is it not a double benefit?
It helps you with shortcuts to solve the problems, mentally, without the help of calculators! Is that not a big benefit? It sure is. You will be able to do mental math easily and anywhere, saving you the time and giving the head start over others!
This will help you with the basic concepts, doing the sums accurately and quickly and also encourage you to take the study of math at your higher classes because you have mastered the art of solving math problems with ease and with fun. These Math classes are held at different centres across India where each child gets individual attention with small batches. WINAUM LEARNING also helps schools conduct Math classes in their respective schools and prepare children, ultimately, to take part in Math Olympiad, where they give away high-value gifts for the top performers.
HAPPY JOURNEY ON MATH LEARNING, MAPLEMATHS WAY!