Learn These Math Skills First!

Which math skills does my child need to learn first?

“How can he be 13 years old and not know long division? How did that happen?”

That was an actual quote from a distraught parent whose child had just done “not so well” on the Diagnostic Test that Tabtor gives to all new students. It’s often the case that students struggle with a topic because they’ve either not had the chance to practice easier concepts or missed learning an easier concept entirely. So for this student, it may be that his times tables recall is weak or he’s making mistakes in subtraction or he just hasn’t learnt how to set out his log division work.

Math, like reading needs to build up from strong foundations.

Find out which foundationnmath skills your child should learn first with this video. The transcript of the video is also below. Click here to watch the video on You Tube “complete with subtitles.

Hello, I’m Caroline from www.mathsinsider.com and today I am going to answer a question from a Maths Insider reader which is, “Which math skills, and how to know which math skills my child needs to learn first?”

A logical order of math skills

So I’ll just briefly go over the kind of math skills that kids need to know. So they basically need to know how to count, then add, then subtract and then multiply and then divide and then work with fractions and then with decimals and then how to use all the skills with algebra. So it sounds really simple, but the school curriculum kind of chops and changes so they make sure they do simple addition in one school year and then they do harder addition the next school year and then they do double digit addition the next school year and triple digit addition the next school year and then they might introduce the times table this school year while they are still doing double digit addition, but they introduce it as number sequences and then they’ll do the times tables.

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So it’s no wonder that parents get confused, because after they’ve done the times table they’re going to do short multiplication and then they’re going to do long multiplication and then another year they are going to repeat the short multiplication as an introduction to long multiplication and so parents can be left thinking “What are they doing?” They’ve been doing multiplication for ever and you know that is true.

How Kumon Does the Math

A program like Kumon, what they do, they do, they basically do addition, addition, addition, 1 digit, 2 digit, 3 digit, 4 digit, yes they add and then subtract, well  they do addition and subtraction together, a bit of addition  a bit of subtraction, a bit of addition a bit of subtraction and then only after addition and subtraction are perfect for like 4 digits, plus 4 digits, and 4 digits, take away 4 digits, do they do the multiplication tables and then once they know those then they do the division facts and then short multiplication, short division, long multiplication, long division and so that’s how come Kumon students are able to seemingly move forward very quickly whilst the school will be doing all these things in a broken up way because then they have also fit in shapes and measurements and time and angles and all the other things that the curriculum decides. 

A Math Skills Strategy

But how does this help you as a parent when your child comes home with for example a question on dividing fractions?  So when I first meet a new student and the parents say they’re stuck on dividing fractions, first of all I want to know do they know their times tables. Well actually I want to know can they add and also subtract but it’s kind of more polite to say, “Do you know your times tables?” especially when you’re talking to a child who maybe 12 or 13 years old and often times they are really hesitant, they don’t know them. It is not a case of being really fast, a fraction of a second, they must know the answer straight away, but they should be able to give you the answer within a few seconds and not panic. So in order to access that dividing by fractions, they are going to need to be able to work with the times tables relatively quickly and relatively comfortably, so it is a case of making sure all the foundation skills are built up. So if you do have your child coming to you with a question to do with fractions make sure they do know their times tables and also before that make sure they do know their addition and subtraction fact relatively easy and not having to count on their fingers and their toes and your fingers and your toes. So it is actually worth taking the time out to do that.

Don’t skip the basic math

Often times I have parents who starts working with me and I start working with their child and they said well, they need to know their times tables which is fine I can give them lots of time tables practice, but actually they do need to be able to do the column subtraction because later on when they are doing  long division they’re going need to be able to subtract easily and accurately and times tables aren’t  actually that difficult to learn, they just need a concentrated amount of time and they don’t even need to be quick, quick, quick as I said before.  It’s the case to get the 4 times table, double and double it again and figuring out. Give your child the tools if they can’t memorize them then give them the tools to be able to get answers so that when later on they’re doing the long division, they are not having to count on to figure out how many times does four goes into 28. Then also they’ve got the problem they can’t subtract accurately, so they are making mistakes when they have to do the subtraction bit of the long division. So it is very important to make sure your child has all their foundational skills and it’s not that they have to be super speedy, that’s great if they can be, but they just need to be comfortable. 

Guide Your Child to LONG TERM Math Success!

Have you ever worried that your child is under-achieving in math?

Whether your child is struggling with their math; your child seems to be “doing fine” in math class or your child is “top of the class” in math; as a parent, you’ve likely paused many a time to wonder if everything will be OK in the end when it comes your child’s math.


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In fact, education research does show that student success in school increases if their parents are positively involved in their education.

Yes, your efforts count and it’s backed by solid data and experience!

However, it’s often difficult to know where to start and even worse, how you’re going to know if your efforts will pay off in the end. How can you make sure that your child will achieve LONG TERM Math success?

I’ve heard this concern from hundreds of parents over the years, so to tackle this important question, I’ve developed a free video series giving you 4 steps that you can use to guide your child to LONG-TERM math success.

Guide Your Child to Long-Term Math Success

How to Guide Your Child to Long-Term Math Success in 4 Steps

LONG TERM Math Success

IN THIS FREE training series you’ll learn:

  • Why you are the best person to oversee your child’s math learning (even if you are paying for a math program)
  • How I turn “I hate math!” into “I want to do more math!”
  • How to save time and money when you take control of your child’s math learning (even if you decide to use paid resources)
  • How to organize your child’s math learning

and much more!

When you watch it, you’ll also receive the rest of the videos in this series over the next few days…

Go check it out now and see for yourself. Soon I’ll release the second video in the free training series and I want to make sure you have the chance to go through it all!

Click here to access the free video training series: How to Guide Your Child to Long-Term Math Success in 4 Steps.

Encourage Your Child To Do Extra Math With These 3 Easy Steps

You’ve come to the realization that your child needs to do some extra math, whether because they’re struggling with the subject, they could do with some extra math practise or in order to get ahead, but you know your child will likely be resistant. Find out how to overcome your child’s objections and encourage your child to do extra math using these 3 steps. The transcript of the video is below. Click here to watch the video on You Tube complete with subtitles.

Hello, I’m Caroline from www.mathsinsider.com and today I’m answering a Maths Insider reader’s question, “How can I get my child to do extra maths?”

Plant the seed that extra math is a positive thing

No. 1 is to seed the idea, so start talking to them about other children who are doing extra maths, “So, you know your friend X, they’ve started doing Kumon” or, “I heard from Y that the Tabtor program is very good” or, “I found this blog Maths Insider and it’s got some really cool ideas of how to get better at maths for kids.” So start seeding the idea and start mentioning it so that it’s not a complete shock for your child.

Encourage Your Child To Do Extra Math With These 3 Steps

What math resource do THEY want to use?

No. 2 is when you decide that you are actually going to start your child doing extra maths, then get their feedback on what they want to do. So say, “Would you prefer to do some extra maths on the app?”,” Do you want me to print out some games?”,” Do you want to just do some worksheets?”,” Do you just want to use a maths text book?” Ask them what they prefer or perhaps videos. So ask for their feedback, ask for their input so that they feel this is something that’s not just happening to them, something that they have to do, but something that they have some element of choice in.

Fix a math time

No. 3 is to fix a time, just try to fix a regular time and again get your child’s input on it, when do they want to do it? In the car on the way to school? Do they want to do it in the morning or after breakfast or during breakfast? Do they want to do it straight away after school? Do they want to go to a tuition center? Do they want to do something just before they go to bed? So ask them what do they think would work in their schedule and also what kind of time frame, so say to them, “Well, okay if you don’t want to do 5 minutes every day then perhaps it’s better that we do a half an hour on a Saturday morning or an hour every couple of weeks” and ask them what they prefer, a little and often or just big chunks of time. Well little and often actually works better, but some children do work better with big chunks of time. So ask them what they prefer.

Encourage Your Child To Do Extra Math with These 3 Steps

So if I go back to number 1:

  • Number 1 is seed the ideas, so start talking about extra maths being something positive and it’s something that other children do.
  • Number 2 ask them how they want to do the extra maths, whether they want to use books or apps, videos or whatever resources.
  • Number 3 is to get your child to help you fix a regular time to do the extra maths.

 

 

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.

 

Making Maths in the Kitchen

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I’m taking a 1 month break from posting new posts here on Maths Insider while I work on other projects. In the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some posts I’ve written here and on other websites that you may have missed. Enjoy!

I wrote a guest post Maths With Kids in the Kitchen, for Maths Insider reader, Shirley Peries who runs a blog about making fun and nutritious food for the whole family called Enriching Your Kid. Check it out:

Carribean Fry Bakes (Maths with Kids in the Kitchen) 
Math is one of those school subjects that gets a bad rap. Kids find it boring, parents find it difficult to help out and teachers don’t have time to make sure their students are solid in their basic maths skills. One of the best ways to overcome this is to “play” with math. Baking is a great way to practice basic math skills with kids. In one cooking session your kids can play with:

  • counting
  • dividing
  • measuring
  • reading scales
  • fractions
  • ratios
Follow along while I bake and “play math” with my 2 and 4 year old.…Read more…

Yes it does make the preparation time twice as long and the mess – oh the mess, but kids love being all “grown-up” and helping in the kitchen and it’s a great time to highlight some maths. Just a few days ago we made a tasty Lemon Zucchini cake and my 5 year old insisted on knowing about the “half” measurements on the measuring jug. Give it a go and see what maths you can find in your kitchen!

Maths Problem Solving Tip

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I teach high school math; I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it,

but is forced by law to buy it!

Maths teacher and campaigner for US maths curriculum reform, Dan Meyer recently gave the above TEDx presentation , “Math class needs a makeover” where he talks about students “aversion to maths problem solving”

I’ve previously written about the importance of mental maths skills; being able to recall arithmetic facts with ease is an important life skill, but of equal, if not greater importance is the art of maths problem solving; taking a real life problem and turning it into a maths problem which can then either be solved, or at least an approximate answer worked out.

Mr Maths Insider is great at throwing out questions to our kids such as, “How can we work out how many atoms there are in the Universe”, questions where the process of working out the answer is more important than the answer itself, and where the relevance of maths can be more easily seen.

Dan Meyer has lots of great stripped down maths problems on his website, they are great but are mainly designed for maths teachers to use in class.

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept
Creative Commons License photo credit: lumaxart

For a quick way of practicing solving maths problems at home, try giving this dose of problem solving medicine:

  • Grab any maths book or maths website which has maths problem solving questions.
  • Sit down for 5, 10 or 15mins, set a timer, and looking at some questions, work out:
  1. what the question is asking and
  2. what maths is needed to solve it.
  • Don’t work out the answer.
  • Move on to the next question.

Here we’re trying to separate the problem solving aspect from the arithmetic aspect which allows your child to focus on the art of problem solving.

Repeat daily or weekly as time allows.

Tell me your ideas to help your child improve their maths problem solving skills!

Wild About The Guinness Book of Records!

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I’ve written a guest post on the website Wild About Math about my favourite maths book of all time, The Guinness Book of World Records. I set 10 maths questions using fascinating facts from, Guinness World Records 2010

First, have a look at the questions, try to work out as many as you can, then check your answers below!

Wild About Math Guinness World Records Answers

Life expectancy difference:  42 years

Alphabet typing:  3.7 letters per second

Try this one – I managed 2 letters per second.

Foot balancing: 3days 4 hours 40 minutes

Largest Sandwich: 35¼ men

Monopoly Board: 89.1m²

I wonder how big the pieces are on this?

Tallest Hotel: 40,000

Largest Pizza: 1.29m

Yum!

Body Mass Index: 30.1

He would have been classed as Obese

Ladder for tallest building: 847m

Luckily it has elevators!

Golden Ratio 1.61803399 Ratio height to arm span 0.94

The ratio of height to arm span is usually around 1, it’s the ratio between arm span and arm length which is around 1.6, the golden ratio. Try this one!

What is your favourite “maths book”?