11 Hot Math Education Research Studies to Boost Your Child’s Math Skills

Have you ever wondered what makes some people into natural mathematicians while others seem to struggle with grasping even basic concepts?  Do you wonder whether there are things you should be doing to help your children reach their potential in math?  Here’s my rundown of recent math education research into how we learn, and how best to develop your child’s math skills.

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Babies’ spatial reasoning predicts later math skills.

Stella Lourenco, a psychologist from Emory University conducted a study showing that babies with a stronger interest in a video stream of mirrored images went on to have greater mathematical skill at age four than those with less interest.

This may be why some people seem to have a natural aptitude for math, while others find it difficult.  The good news is that spatial reasoning can improve with training.  Lourenco suggests that an increased focus on this area in early math education could be helpful.

Action Point:  Provide opportunities to develop spatial skills.  Traditional shape sorters, puzzles, and stacking toys are ideal for this.  Also, try some of my Short and Sweet Preschool Math Activities.

Math difficulties may reflect problems in a crucial learning system in the brain.

Procedural memory governs our mastery of non-conscious skills, things like driving.  In this research, Tanya M. Evans PhD shows that procedural memory is also important in developing math ability.  She suggests that problems with underlying brain structure could be at the root of math difficulties.

Action Point:  Storytelling can be a great way to support the development of procedural memory.  The structure helps children to remember what comes next, setting them in good stead for math concepts later on.

Parents’ math skills ‘rub off’ on their children.

A recent University of Pittsburgh study shows that we transfer our math skills to our children.  Math education researchers found that a child’s performance in standardised tests could be predicted by looking at a parent’s performance in similar examinations.  

Action Point: Your understanding is key to developing your child’s understanding.  If you’re not confident in your own abilities, try Khan Academy or a similar programme to boost your performance in the basics.

Math and me:  Children who identify with math get higher scores.

Self-talk influences our performance throughout life.  Math is no different.  Dario Cvencek’s study shows that performance in math tests links to stereotypes. This in turn determines how children think of themselves as math learners.  For example, girls who subscribe to the theory that ‘math is for boys’ will tend to have weaker mathematical ability.  

Researchers measured explicit and subconscious beliefs in children through a range of tests. They then monitored their results in standardised tests at the end of the school year.  They found that implicit, subconscious beliefs affected math scores while explicit beliefs did not.  

Action Point:  Cvencek says, “If we can boost children’s math self-concepts early in development, this may also help boost their actual math achievement and interest in the discipline.”  

Watching the brain do math.

Using MRI technology, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have been able to see what’s happening in the brain while students are solving maths problems.  They identified four distinct stages of the thought process: encoding, planning, solving and responding.  Using MRI, they analysed how long respondents spent on each stage of the process.

Action Point:  Professor John Anderson hopes that his research will eventually lead to improvements in classroom instruction.

brain math

The brain performs feats of math to make sense of the world.

The orbitofrontal cortex, just behind the eyes, carries out a constant stream of calculations and computations. All this without us being consciously aware of what’s happening.  This process shapes our behaviour and reactions to situations.  Using a safari park simulation, researchers from Princeton University demonstrated that people could accurately decide which area of the virtual park a specific group of animals had come from, based on their previous experience in the game.  

This ability would have been important to our ancestors’ daily survival, and it’s just as crucial for us today.  Even those without confidence in their math skills can take heart from the fact that our brains have an innate ability to conduct complex mathematical computations.

Finger tracing can lift student performance in math.

Getting young children to trace letters and numbers with their fingers is a standard part of early childhood education.  Recent research by Dr Paul Ginns suggests that this benefit extends to other areas as well, specifically, solving math problems.  

A survey of children aged 9-16 in Sydney showed that using the index finger to trace over important elements of algebra and geometry problems helped to improve their skill in solving those problems.

Action Point:  If you have young children, you probably already encourage them to trace letters and numbers.  Try to find ways to maintain that habit as they get older.  One suggestion is to let them see you modelling the behaviour as you try to figure out measurements for DIY or craft projects.

Improving math in sixth graders.

Marije Fagginger Auer’s research shows that “children can benefit from writing down their calculations, especially the more vulnerable group with lower ability”.  Current trends lean towards a heavy focus on mental strategies that don’t require children to ‘show their workings’.  This research found that a written process of working out the solution resulted in a higher proportion of correct answers, although this took more time.  

Action Point: The results of this math education research will be used to improve teacher training programmes.  Meanwhile, it’s easy to encourage children to write down their process for answering questions. This will work especially well in areas they find more challenging.

Math study shows our brains are far more adaptable than we know.

This fascinating research shows that blind people have the same innate numerical reasoning abilities as sighted people.  It was previously thought that the basic number sense present in humans and animals was related purely to sight.  This study found that, in blind people, the visual cortex plays an important role in numerical reasoning.

Co-author of the study, Marina Bedny says that the findings suggest that the brain as a whole is far more adaptable than previously believed.  “If we can make the visual cortex do math, in principle, we can make any part of the brain do anything.”

Simple numbers game seems to make kids better at math.

Games are a great way to boost math learning, we know that already.  It’s also been known for a while that a highly developed sense of number in infancy can predict later math success.  Johns Hopkins University researchers have taken this a step further with a study that suggests that games can bolster an innate sense of mathematical awareness.  

Children were given a game to play on a tablet, where they had to decide whether there were more blue or yellow spots on the screen at one time.  This had to be done quickly, without counting.  Testing after the dots game found that those children who played the ‘proper’ version of the game (with questions progressing from easiest to hardest) performed much better.

Action Point: This study shows that even a small investment of time can pay dividends.  It is well worth adding a few number games and activities to your days.

10 Online gaming can boost school scores.

Research from RMIT University, Melbourne, shows that playing video games can sharpen teenagers’ math skills, while Facebook and other social networking sites can dull them.  Associate Professor Alberto Posso said, “Students who play online games almost every day score 15 points above the average in maths and 17 points above the average in science.”  

Action Point: One recommendation from this study is that teachers should try to incorporate popular video games into their classes, providing that they’re not violent games.  

11 Tutoring relieves math anxiety, changes fear circuits in children.

This research has found that one-to-one tutoring can not only improve math ability but also treat math anxiety itself.  Using fMRI scans on children with high math anxiety, researchers showed that, after an eight-week tutoring programme, the brain’s fear circuits and amygdala were no longer activated by exposure to maths.

Action Point:  If your child suffers from anxiety around math work, and you’ve been wondering whether a private tutor might help, maybe this is the confirmation you need.

It’s interesting to read math education research, especially when it backs up what you already know.  You’ll find plenty of math resources here at Maths Insider to help you encourage your children as they grow their math abilities.  I especially love reading research into how very young children learn. It’s fascinating to understand the science behind the things that most of us do instinctively.  

Have You Seen These 15 Awesome Math Toys and Games?

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Are you keen to help your children cement the math skills they’re learning, but finding them less than willing to spend their free time practising times tables or number bonds?  Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to look around here at Maths Insider to see some of my suggestions for ways to make math practice more fun.  Here’s a list of math toys and games with a definite emphasis on fun and a whole lot of math learning thrown in for good measure.

Number skills builders for preschoolers

Smart Snacks Number Pops – a fun way to encourage number recognition and fine motor skills at the same time.  Match the numbers to the dots and slide the coloured shell over the corresponding lolly.

Contains 10 ice cream pops.  Recommended for age 2+.

 

2 Melissa & Doug’s Stack & Count Parking Garage is a sturdy, colourful toy that will appeal to car-crazy toddlers, and teach them their numbers while they play.  Your kids will love dropping the wooden cars into the slot and seeing them fit neatly on top of the car beneath.

Recommended for age 2+.

Cool math for young kids

3 In this Math Explosion Game, the math side of things takes a very definite second-place to the excitement of exploding a volcano!  The game uses customised math facts making it suitable for a range of ages to play together.  Math practice and volcanic eruptions – what’s not to like?

2-4 players.  Recommended for age 5+.

The Magnetic Apple Fractions toy helps link important math concepts with everyday experiences.  Colour-coded plastic pieces are held together by magnets to create a fun toy that helps develop awareness of fractions.  Comes with an activity guide to help you get the most out of it.

Recommended for age 5+.

Sequence for Kids looks just like a normal board game, it doesn’t scream ‘I’m an educational toy’, making it ideal for those of us with more cynical children.  A strategy-building game that can be played by non-readers but which is engaging enough for adults as well.  Throw in a side order of unicorns and dragons, and you’re sure to find this one a crowd-pleaser.

2-4 players.  Recommended for ages 3-6.

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Engaging math games for older kids

Do you fancy being a Super Math Spy?  Use your super-fast mental math skills to carry out secret missions.  Complete with spy goggles and finger-print cards, this is a fun game that’s never the same.  A great way to encourage the kind of speed and automatic recall of facts that we all know is so important for later math success.

2-4 players.  Recommended for age 7+.

Make-a-Monster Math Test Prep Games.  Spin the spinner, answer math questions, and race to build your own funny monster.  Specifically designed to target skills needed for standardised state and national tests.  This link is to the Grade 3 set, but it’s available for Grades 3-5.

2-4 players.  Recommended for age 8+.

8 The best games are easy to learn but challenging to play.  Flip 4 fits right into this category.  A fun way to practice basic math skills and develop strategic thinking at the same time.

2-4 players.  Recommended for age 8-12.

9 Build space rockets and explore the solar system in Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration.  This game offers an awesome introduction to rocket science and space exploration while developing strategic thinking and planning skills.  Developed by the leader of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission, it contains a wealth of real-world learning.

2-4 players.  Recommended for age 7+.

10 An irresistible curiosity that is bound to attract young and old alike.  The Clever Catch Multiplication Ball is a large inflatable ball covered in math problems.  Perfect for either organised game-play or informal exploration.

Recommended for Grades 3-7.

11 Think Fun’s Gravity Maze has 60 challenges across four play levels, so it will keep your kids (and you) puzzling for a good long time.  Use your logic and spatial reasoning skills to figure out how to create a path that will take the marble to the target tower.  A simple concept with endless variations

Single-player.  Recommended for ages 8-15 years.

12 The Ozbot Bit is a tiny (just over 1”) robot that you programme yourself.  Start with basic colour-coded commands, and progress to OzoBlockly, which allows you to fully programme your robot.  Coding is the latest buzz in STEM education, and this is a fun way to back up what your kids are learning at school.

Recommended for age 8+.

13 The Laser Maze Logic Game, also from Think Fun, is another game designed to develop sequential reasoning and hone those planning skills.  Arrange the mirrored tokens to reflect the laser beam onto the targets in 60 different challenges at a range of levels.

Single-player.  Recommended for ages 8-15 years.

14 Do your kids like to play to an audience?  Are they budding performers and entertainers?  If so, the 4M Math Magic Puzzles and Games set could be the perfect addition to your rainy-day cupboard.  They’ll learn to perform 15 math tricks and amazing speed calculations to wow friends and family.

Recommended for age 8+.

Fabulous geometry fun for the whole family

15 K’NEX is a classic toy that works on many levels.  This Elementary Math and Geometry Building Set tallies up with national standards and common core requirements.  Use the teacher’s guide and building instructions, or simply play and experiment – they’ll be learning without even realising it.

Set suitable for 3-4 children to use together.  Recommended for ages 2-16.

If you’ve liked these math toys and games ideas, click on over to my list of Brain-Building Math Board Games for Curious Kids for even more inspiration.

12 Brain Building Math Board Games for Curious Kids

12 Brain Building Math Board Games for Curious Kids1

With summer coming up, I’m on the lookout for a new game or two to liven up quiet afternoons.  It’s an added bonus if I can sneak a little math practice in without anyone noticing what I’m up to.  Here are my top twelve picks for fun games with math skills at the core.  Take a look at this previous post on math board games for even more inspiration.

1. Smash-Up Game

Aliens, Ninjas, Pirates, Dinosaurs and more battle to smash more bases than the opposing team.  Eight different factions and dozens of combinations to try.  ‘It’s really fast setup, it’s really fast play … It’s easy to pick up the rules.’  

2-4 players, recommended for age 13+.

2. Melissa & Doug Shut-The-Box

A deceptively simple game, this is a favourite for all ages in our house.  An easy way to practice number bonds for younger children, with plenty of strategy to keep everyone else interested.  ‘This a great coffee table game for adults, as well as beginning adders!’  

2-4 players, recommended for age 6+.

3. Educational Insights Shelby’s Snack Shack Game

A counting game that will appeal to pre-schoolers and slightly older children alike.  Simple number recognition, and beginning addition and subtraction skills are used to help Shelby find the bones she’s buried at the beach.  ‘Parents (or relatives or friends) of pre-schoolers: Look no further, this is a perfect gift!’ 

2-4 players, recommended for ages 4-10.

4. Prime Climb 

A blend of strategy and sheer luck makes this an appealing game regardless of your mathematical ability.  You’ll practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using the colour-coded board to scaffold the learning.   ‘Engaging and challenging enough that no one was bored but easy enough to understand that no one was frustrated.’  

2-4 players, recommended for age 10+.

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5. Clumsy Thief 

A fast-paced card game to practice addition skills.  A winning mixture of luck and tactics make this a fun and engaging game.  ‘As a homeschool mom, I love anything that has my kids learning but makes it so much fun, they don’t even realize that they ARE learning!’  

2-6 players, recommended for age 8+.

6. Brain Quest Smart Game

Different question levels mean that this game works well for mixed age groups.  Race to answer questions on Science, Math, Arts, Reading, and The World.  ‘One thing that is so great is you can start playing with your 1st grader and go all the way through 6th grade.’  

2-4 players, recommended for ages 6-12.

7. Task Cards: Word Problems Grade 3 Board Game

Contains 100 different task cards for word problem practice.  Write-on/Wipe-off cards are always appealing to children, and these are linked to Common Core Standards to help you target specific areas for improvement.  

Suitable for individual and group use, recommended for ages 7-8.

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8. Make 7

A simple game to encourage familiarity and speed at additon.  The aim is to get your number tiles to add up to seven in any direction.  ‘The strategy is very deep. Something like a chess game but much quicker.’  

2 players, recommended for age 7+.

9. Farkle 

Quick set-up, and super easy to learn.  Like all the best games, strategy and chance both play their part.  ‘Great game, tons of fun, easy to learn.’  

2+ players, recommended for age 8+.

10. Teacher Created Resources Jumpin’ Chips Multiplication

 Five different games in one.  Master multiplication facts to 12×12 in these checkers-type games.  ‘Students love this game. They ask to play all the time and even ask to borrow it to bring home.’  

1-4 players, recommended for ages 7-11.

11. City of Zombies Maths Board Game 

Roll the dice and try to stop the zombies in their tracks.  A flexible cooperative game that can be easily adapted to focus on different areas of math.  ‘What price would you be willing to pay for a bit of argument-free time, knowing that your kids are totally absorbed in a game that does not pit one child against another but makes them combine forces against a common enemy?’  

1-6 players, recommended for age 5+.  (Please note, this game only ships from the UK).

12. Times Square – A Fast & Fun Times Tables Maths Game 

Play this as a standalone game, or use it to expand the City of Zombies game above.  Easy and fast to learn, and provides hours of fun.  ‘The game comes fully differentiated with a range of different play modes, and tips to make it easier or harder, which can be swapped in and out at a moment’s notice.’

1-6 players, recommended for age 7+.   (Please note, this game only ships from the UK).

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11 Award Winning Math Books to Share With Your Child

Are you looking for some fantastic books to help boost your child’s love of math?

collageWhen done poorly, a book about math can be dull and confusing. However, when done well, and accompanied by unique perspectives and colorful illustrations, math books can be fun!

The following list of number-crunching books will prove this to even the most dubious of readers. All titles are winners of the 2016 Mathical prize, which honors books that cultivate a love of mathematics in young readers.

Whether you want to introduce a young child to their very first math concepts or supplement an older child’s math curriculum, this list is for you:

1. Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals are Big and Little Animals are Little, by Nicola Davies

Using animals to explain math concepts is brilliant, because, which kid doesn’t like animals? In “Just the Right Size”, the author seeks to amuse children with animal trivia while using these familiar creatures to explain geometry concepts such as size and surface area.

Children are drawn to the cartoon characters, and parents enjoy learning new math and science trivia at the same time. The fun presentation makes it an ideal way to introduce concepts to inquisitive learners and reluctant math students alike.

2. The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, by Deborah Hopkinson

Primarily a historical medical novel, The Great Trouble sneakily introduces math to young readers in the form of money.

While following the heroic adventures of the main character, who is struggling to support himself, readers are plunged into the world of economics.

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Suitable for both fun and classroom, readers describe ”The Great Trouble” as:

” …historical non-fiction for kids that is also interesting for adults…”
“…perfect for young scientists.”
“…educational, yet by no means boring.”
“…a fascinating look at money, poverty, survival and illness in Victorian London”

3. An Animal Alphabet, by Elisha Cooper

Both a counting book and an alphabet book. The pages are filled with illustrations depicting over one hundred animal species (along with animal facts) and pages of counting opportunities (up to the number eight, the author’s preferred number.)

Definitely not a traditional counting or letter book, but one any preschooler will treasure, ”An Animal Alphabet” is :

“Illustrated with joy…an alphabet book to pore over, worth adding to any collection.” — School Library Journal, starred review

4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A classic book that introduces abstract mathematical concepts, and personifies both math and words as literal characters. The Phantom Tollbooth has delighted readers for over three decades, and continues to pique mathematical interest in readers of all ages.

Many parents today describe “The Phantom Tollbooth” as their first favorite book, and enjoy it even more as adults. What better book to share with a child?

5. Count With Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep by Lucy Cousins

This preschool book provides a fun reason for counting–they must help Maisy the Dog find all of the baby chickens before bedtime!

As a lift-a-flap book, it’s already interactive, and parents can make it more so by using the bright illustrations to teach numbers, colors, and farm animals.

“…Count With Maisy is an adorable book that my toddler loves.”
“Counting baby chickens with Maisy is my daughter’s favorite part of bedtime.”

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6. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang

Here is a book that offers a modern take on the importance of math. Not only is it a mystery novel filled with old-school learning concepts, such as logic puzzles, it focuses on one of the most progressive uses of math in our world today–computer coding.

A perfect gift for a child who is into computers or robotics, or who just needs some proof that STEM academics can be fun.

Parents and teachers both agree that this book is engaging, encouraging and enjoyable (for all ages!)

“… it encourages my daughter to read AND think about math, its a win-win in my book!..”

“…Such a fun and geeky book. It appeals to the kid in all of us, and my math-whiz kid loved the puzzles.”

7. Max’s Math by Kate Banks

Follow Max and his brothers as they set off on an adventure to find Shapesville. Their path is littered with numbers and shapes, and along the way they learn about counting, problem-solving, and basic geometry concepts.

The book is wonderful for the story itself, and presents numerous opportunities for parents to introduce new math games (such as finding hidden numbers).

8. The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman

A biography of the mathematician Paul Erdos, who was astonishingly brilliant with numbers, yet could not perform simple tasks like making his own bed. This story is for any child (or parent) who sees the world differently and strives to create their own learning environment.

The bright illustrations and joyful character can teach young readers that math is not something to be feared, since we see Paul so ecstatically happy about his numerical adventures.

One reader says:
“…thanks to this book, my child now dreams of becoming a mathematician.”

9. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka

“You know, you can think of everything as a math problem..”

That is the prompt that sets the book in action, as a student realizes she is “cursed” by being surrounded by math problems.

A clever and excellent way to drive home the importance of why math skills are important and how we use them everyday to solve a variety of issues. (And also some silly, yet charming, mathematical philosophizing as the narrator laments why a person who has 10 cookies must have 3 taken away as her whole life becomes a series of word problems.)

With the addition of some “silly math” the author also teaches readers that there are some problems that one cannot solve with math.

10. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Again, a book that takes math beyond the school room and into real life. Cunningly hidden inside the story of a city girl who moves to the farm and rather reluctantly becomes a chicken farmer, are everyday math problems she must solve. Such as how to calculate the amount of water needed for a certain number of chickens per day, and how to measure for roosting poles.

For children who don’t dream of being physicists or engineers, its helpful to show how math is still useful in their own real world lives. Little math problems are just as important to your success, no matter which undertaking you choose.

Parents have described this book as funny, diverse, thought-provoking, powerful, and worth reading over-and-over.

11. Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over by Mark P. Friedlander

This is the book to perk up reluctant teen math students.

This adventure story links multiple academic subjects together (much as the Master himself did). Follow the three young characters as they help a resurrected da Vinci on his quest to better humanity.

“..a great book for merging math and science together. We read it as part of our homeschool curriculum, and my daughter loved it.”

Along the way the 3 young characters play the role of both students and teachers to the grand master; an empowering way to show children that what they learn today, they can use for teaching others tomorrow.

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8 Practical Ways to Conquer Your Child’s Math Anxiety

Is math anxiety really a thing?

Math anxiety, that is feelings of stress, fear and apprehension when it comes to doing math, is certainly real. In fact scientists have developed different ways to measure mathematical related anxiety including the MARS (Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale) and the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales (FSMAS).

A child suffering from math anxiety is not necessarily “bad at math”, but the stress they feel in math class and the avoidance tactics they use to minimize the amount of math they need to do, mean that they often don’t get the much needed practise that leads to math fluency.

A research based approach to math anxiety

Fortunately, research has found that, when it comes to math anxiety, parents can offer a great deal of help and support to their children. The infographic below  gives 8 science-backed, practical ways to help parents conquer their child’s math anxiety.

 

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8 Practical Ways to Conquer Your Child’s Math Anxiety

1. Be involved

Student success in school has been shown to increase if their parents are positively involved in their education.

2. Encourage a growth mindset

Studies have shown that effort trumps ability when it comes to learning math, so set high expectations when encouraging your child.

3. Be positive about math

A parent’s perception of mathematics influences not only their child’s perception, but also their achievement in mathematics.

4. Overcome gender stereotypes

Foster math confidence regardless of the gender of your child by highlighting achievements made by both male and female scientists.

5. Learn the basics  

Rote learning is essential to mathematics performance as a many higher level concepts build the memorization and repetition of the basic math facts.

6. Allow mistakes  

Focus on the concepts rather than the right answer since making (and correcting) mistakes is an essential part of math learning.

 

7. Take baby steps 

Support new topics by slowly building from the topics your child already understands. Use gradual, repeated success to build math confidence in your child.

8. Make math relevant to real life

Highlight ways in which you and your family use math in everyday life and discuss how good math skills will open the doors to a larger choice of career options.

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What is Your No. 1 Math Help Challenge ?

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I’d love to hear how I can help!

It’s been several years since I’ve conducted my last survey. It’s a shame and it means I haven’t done all I can to best understand and help you.
I’m determined, however, to make Maths Insider the best it can be for you, and it all starts with a brand new survey!
All answers are collected anonymously and your response will be a primary factor in shaping the future of what I do, what gets published, what the site looks like and ultimately your experience with Maths Insider.
I’m really excited, and I hope you’ll give a few minutes of your time to take this incredibly important audience survey.
I’ve already had some great responses:
How do do I keep my child motivated on a math program?
How can I help with their lack of understanding of the basics?
How can I help keep him interested in the homework that is mere repetition of the school lesson. He gets bored and demotivated?
So go ahead and fill the Maths Insider No.1 Challenge survey!

Challenge Survey

 

 

 

Start Celebrating Maths: 5 Fun Resources for Learning Maths

This is a guest post by Clare Evans

Maths. It’s one of those subjects your children either love or hate.

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For some, getting their head around number patterns, learning their times tables, and mastering long division is just too much to bear. But maths has been considered ‘boring’ for far too long.

It’s such a valuable subject, that teaches your children skills for life. Skills they will need to employ almost every day in their adult life. So it’s time to start a revolution. It’s time we started celebrating maths and making it fun.

Here, are five fun resources you can use – either at school or in the home – to make learning maths a blast:

1. Apps

Zoom app

We’re witnessing a technology boom, and children of all ages know their way around an iPhone or iPad better than many adults. If this sounds like your kids, you should embrace their tech-savvy nature and make maths fun with an app or two.

There are plenty of apps for children of all ages and abilities, making this a great aid for many parents. A quick browse of the app store on your mobile or tablet will bring up a plethora of free and paid for apps, designed at teaching different skills.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for though, this post from Maths Insider lists some of the best.

2. The Internet

If you don’t own a tablet but still want to make the most of these more modern methods, the World Wide Web is by far your biggest ally.

There are a whole host of websites and online games designed to make maths fun; many of which, your children won’t even see as learning. Again, do your research and find out the best ones for your child’s age and ability, but you won’t be short on options.

Mashable recently posted their pick of ‘5 Fun Ways to Help Children Learn Maths Online’. You can check that out here for some inspiration and places to start.

3. The TV

Believe it or not, your kids can get clued up on maths by watching the TV.

Children’s television has always had a strong focus on learning, but this has only increased in recent years. Now, your kids can watch some great programmes that are all geared towards making maths – and other subjects – fun and interesting.

There are also a number of dedicated revision services and programmes available via your television which can be a great aid for older children. The TV is a great maths teaching aid as it doesn’t really feel like learning, but you’d be surprised at what your children pick up on.

(Check out Maths Insider’s cool and funky You Tube maths recommendations for Kindergarten kids.)

4. Games

Dino math board game

Some children learn better by ‘doing’, which is where these more tangible maths aids come in. Games like Times Table Snap, Primary Numbers Bingo and Fraction Towers are all great ways you and your children can play and learn together.

There is also a lot to be said for ‘playing shop’ with your children. Write a price list for things you can buy from their ‘shop’ and ask them to be shop keeper. Do your shopping and ask them to tally up the amount in their head. You can then get them to work out how much change you’re owned and what coins they could give you.

This is fun and something you can do for real if you take your children along when you do the weekly shop. These aids can be brought online or in local toy stores and are a must-have for parents looking to make learning maths more fun.

(Maths Insider shares some excellent parent tested maths board games here)

5. Books

Never underestimate the power – or fun – of a good workbook.

Some children will prefer this method of learning as it is similar to how they’re taught at school. You can get loads of work books aimed at different age groups online, and go through them with your little ones.

Choose ones with bright colours, loads of images and plenty of variety. If you can work through the more fun games and puzzles, you will be able to foster a love of maths. You should also buy puzzle books like Sudoku’s and other number puzzles for your children. They keep the brain active, and are a great way of learning new skills.

There are plenty of fun resourcess for learning maths that you can purchase for your children, and a whole host of ways you change your kids’ perception of the subject. Sure it can be hard at times, but it is a hugely important subject and one that can be fun when you look at it a new way.

 

Clare Evans is writing on behalf of Core Assets, the  largest private agency for fostering in the UK, and recent winner of the Global Diversity Award 2013.

Back to School Math Goodies Giveaway!

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My 4 kids went back to school this week.

I’m glad that we’re back into some sort of a routine, but am wondering how I’m going to survive yet another 9+ months of getting up super early.

Whether you’re homeschooling or sending your kids to school, it’s likely that you’re reading the Maths Insider blog to find out how to put some spice in your child’s relationship with math!

Well as a Back to School gift to you, I’ve got together once again, with Bon Crowder, fellow math blogger extraordinaire, from  Math is Not a Four Letter Word to bring you some math inspiration freebies.

Once you’ve signed up (oh! and btw we won’t share your email with anyone else!) You’ll get 9 days of fresh math ideas including:

The Maths Insider Interviews – steal ideas from real life maths teachers

The Four Facts of Math Video – If you don’t put these 4 facts into action you risk another year of maths hating

If You Give a Man Some Hands – the coolest little hand drawn cartoon ebook to share maths ideas with your child

Bumper High School MatBumper Preschool Math Pack

The Super Math Giveaway Preschool and High School Packs – the coolest apps, You Tube channels and podcast for teens and apps, hands-on activities and toys and games for little ones

and much more…..

Click through to the Super Math Giveaway website to find out more and to start receiving your free maths gifts!

 

www.supermathgiveaway.com

p.s. Don’t forget to like and share this on Facebook and Tweet out this rockin’ offer!

p.p.s. If you’re already signed to Super Math Giveaway  from 2 years ago, you’ll get the additional content sent to you. No need to sign up again!

Questimate! – Quite Possibly the Coolest Math iPad App! [Giveaway]

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I came across Questimate! by Motion Math a few weeks back when I carrying out some research for my post iPad apps for preschoolers.

You see Jacob Klein and his team at Motion Math have produced some of the coolest IOS apps from the cute Motion Math:Hungry Guppy for little kids to the zoomingly fab Motion Math:Zoom for kids young and old.

Questimate! and Questimate Pro are the latest apps from Motion Math to use their zoom technology to show just how cool math really can be!

 Questimate iPad App

Questimate!  is an estimation game where kids make their own questions:

  • How many giraffes would be as tall as the Statue of Liberty?
  • How fast is the world’s fastest train?
  • How many jelly beans would it take to fill up a soccer ball?
  • In what year was the cell phone invented?

and lots more questions based around the categories of Amazing Animals, Need for Speed, History of Awesome, and GeoOdyssey.

Estimation skills are a really important part of kids math development and are a requirement in the Common Core Standard. Questimate makes estimation fun!

Questimate iPad app

This cool math app is aimed at kids aged 9 and upwards, but you’ll see from the video below of my 6 and 12 year old boys playing Questimate (with some help from their 14 year old sister and their 4 year old brother) that the app has broad appeal.

You can also see from the banter in the video that my kids loved Questimate!

Questimate! is the free version, which you can see my kids playing. There’s also Questimate! – Pro  which gives access to the full range of cool questimation questions!

Motion Math have given me 2 promo codes  for Questimate! – Pro for the iPad worth $7.99 each to give away to Maths Insider readers.

For a chance to win:

  1. Like the Maths Insider FaceBook page
  2. Download the FREE  Questimate! by Motion Math app
  3. Take a photo or screenshot of one of the cool questions that your child makes on Questimate
  4. Upload the pic onto FB and Tag @Maths Insider with a message (e.g Playing Questimate iPad app, recommended by @Maths Insider)

I’ll pick 2 random winners from all entries submitted by midnight GMT Sunday 8th September 2013.

Help your Bookworm Child Start Loving Mathematics

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This is a guest post by Davis Miller:

As far as math is concerned, most kids in the U.S. are not making the grade. Former math teacher at Stanford, Jo Boaler, published  What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject in which she offers great advice for parents struggling to help their children love math. She outlines practical solutions meant to change perspectives including study strategies and tips to make even the keenest book lover appreciate math. Boaler believes that kids could be interested in mathematical ideas as long as they’re fascinating and eye-catching. Games, easy puzzles, and patterns are great ways of making bookworm kids fond of math.

everyday math

Math fun with M&Ms

Who doesn’t love M&Ms? They’re colorful, fun to play with and of course, delicious. Kids will love to sort them by color, count them, and eat them. It’s equally important for parents to ask their kids questions like: “How many green M&Ms do you think you have?” “How many M&Ms are in total?” Appealing to their senses and tricking them into getting out of their comfort zone is an excellent way of helping them love math. A lot of parents think that there’s no way to make their bookworm children appreciate mathematics. As far as kids are concerned, remember this: there’s always a way to catch their attention, you just have to find it.

Every day chores may lead to math opportunities

Most every day chores involve math skills. Therefore, as a loving parent you should find the best ways to make your kids love it. Shopping, cooking, planning trips, cleaning, they’re all related in one way or another to mathematics. For example, you should start by including daily activities that include numbers, but try not to scare your kids away with demanding tasks. Make a pie and ask for help from your kid. Let him measure ingredients and the experience won’t just be educative, it will also be entertaining. Your toddler may be a book person, but still, who can say No to pie?

Math and literature are like yin and yang

While that may be true, we all know that opposites attract. Did you ever think of recommending your child a book with math concepts? It doesn’t have to be something obvious, and as long as the text is perfectly combined with the math, your kid will love it. Parents must constantly find ways to draw their children’s attention. Check out the math related story books in the Go Read Some Math post. You could organize weekly ‘book clubs’ and spend more time together. Appeal to his logical side and try to see if you can make him more curious about math. Early childhood brings about an array of hobbies, so your kid will want to be doctor today, a pilot tomorrow, and who knows, maybe he will end up an engineer 20 years from now.

Math and chess

Teach your kids to play chess

Rather simple at first, chess is a really complex strategy game. It requires great analytical skills, so you can’t know if your kids have them or not unless you teach them. Take things slow and make them understand the rules first. Try as much as you can to do it in a fun way, and try not to put pressure on your toddlers. To make them feel good about themselves, let them win every once in a while. It’s really important for parents to be supportive as far as learning math is concerned, and board games are a fun, engaging way to make such an exact science seem more laidback.

Math is everywhere

We cannot help but admit that math is everywhere. As a parent, you need to take advantage of that if you want to make your bookworm kid love numbers more than his beloved Juggle Book by Kipling. Numbers are constantly present in our daily lives, and to make things interesting for kids you need to come up with facts. Watch morning weathercasts together and calculate simple equations, use fractions for fruit divisions, and if you just bought a lottery ticket, allow your kid to fill in the numbers.

As parents we cannot force our kids into liking math; what we can do is make use of smart techniques that will make them like it. You may not realize it, but fun learning methods could awaken your child’s interest in math. Without proper encouragement you won’t be able to convince a bookworm child to give up reading.

 

Author Bio: Davis Miller is a fun loving guy who loves to play with children. He is a writer and his articles are mainly focused on school-going children. Apart from that, he also works for a site http://www.yorknotes.com/ which is an ultimate guide to Exam success.