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Instill a Love of Math
By Laura Lewis Brown
Parents are bombarded with messages to read with their children, but it’s rare to hear about the importance of doing math with them. Here are some helpful tips on why and how to instill a love of math in your children.
Early Math Matters
We may take for granted that our children will inevitably learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, but early math lessons establish the base for the rest of their thinking lives. “Mathematics that kids are doing in kindergarten, first, second and third grades lays the foundation for the work they are going to do beyond that,” says Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). “They are learning beyond just counting and numbers.” That’s why it’s so important to help children love math while they are still young. Parents can build on those first preschool lessons by counting with their children, asking them to look for patterns and recognize shapes, then moving on to numbers, Gojak says.
The goal should be to make math “real” and meaningful by pointing it out in the world around you. That could include checking and comparing prices at the grocery store, driving down the street counting mailboxes, reading recipes, calculating coupons, or even measuring food or drink at the dinner table. Kevin Mahoney, math curriculum coordinator at Pennacre Country Day School in Wellesley, Mass., says when his children were little, his wife kept a small measuring tape in her pocketbook. While they were waiting for their order at a restaurant, the children would measure different items on the table.
Just as you encourage your early reader to look for familiar letters, ask your child to watch for math, regarding math as highly as you do reading. “Every parent knows that it’s a good idea to read to your child every night, but they should also realize the importance of talking about mathematical situations with children every day,” says Mahoney.
So What If It’s Hard?
What if you hated math as a child? Parents should try to set aside their distaste for math and encourage their children as much as possible. Young children are eager to learn. “It’s hard to learn to talk or walk. But they don’t care,” says Sue VanHattum, a community college math teacher in Richmond, Ca., who blogs about math learning on www.mathmamawrites.blogspot.com. “They just push themselves over their limits. They are going to come at math with that same attitude.”
Avoid talking negatively about math, even if you have no need for trigonometry in your daily life. “A lot of people will only joke that they cannot do math or announce publicly, ‘I’m not a math person.’ When a parent does that in front of a child, it suggests that math’s not important,” says Char Forsten, education consultant and writer, who urges parents to create that desire to learn by constantly screening the environment for math. “Have you seen any good math lately?” she likes to ask students.
If your child believes that math doesn’t really matter, he’s not going to be as open to learn. “Attitude has everything to do with learning. You can’t make anyone learn. If a child has learned not to love math, if they don’t love math, and aren’t willing to learn, you have to deal with that first,” Forsten says.
If you are stuck on how to foster math enthusiasm, talk to your child’s teacher about some ways to support math learning at home. There may be a new game that you have never heard of, which both you and your child will love.
With so many facts and figures to memorize and apply to math problems, children learn early that math is something that requires work. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun; keep the pleasure in math by playing games with your children. Many games, even the ones adults play, rely on math. With countless websites, computer games and phone apps, parents have endless options, but don’t forget about the nondigital games you loved as a child. The classics that require manipulating cards and game pieces, calculating along the way, may have the same appeal for your kids as they did for you. One game worth considering is Chutes and Ladders. A 2009 study conducted by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Maryland found that preschoolers who played the game improved math skills significantly compared to those in the study who played a different board game or did nonmath tasks.
As you play with your kids, try to tap into your own love for math. When you play Trivial Pursuit, you are using math to determine how many spaces you need to get to the next wedge or predict which category you can answer best. The game doesn’t have to be about math, but should involve it. If you have a good game store in your area, stop by and ask the salespeople for help. Some of VanHattum’s favorite games really push logic, which is the basis of math, and get children thinking visually. Check out Link, SET, Rush Hour, Blokus and Spot It, to name a few.
“Playing games is a great family activity,” VanHattum says. “The more you have a tradition of playing games, the easier it is to bring in other games you like.” So while you may not be passionate about your child’s latest board game, you can work up to another game you like. Try to make the game personal to your family by playing it in your own special way. “Mathematicians make up their own rules,” VanHattum says. “It’s really important to be open to making up your own games. Change the rules. ‘In our family, we play the game this way.’”
Flexing Math Muscles
Riding a bike, swimming in the deep end, and playing an instrument are just examples of our favorite childhood activities that require practice to master. So does math.
“Math is an intellectual muscle building; it’s crucial for fully developing a child’s potential,” Mahoney says. “Those muscles can atrophy. If school is the only place you do math, then it becomes something you only do at school. Then you don’t even think about using it in real life.” So brush off those negative feelings about math and instill enthusiasm. Math will play a role in your child’s life forever.
“It’s important to remember that those basics are essential for later learning. A lot of the stuff we learn in math we apply in different ways later,” says Gojak, who emphasizes the thinking skills that math provides. “I might not have to worry about what an isosceles triangle is, but it’s still an important part of education.”
As they grow, kids will learn that they are willing to work hard at something they love. It may just be math. Either way, remember that your child does not have to excel at math to enjoy it. “It doesn’t matter if they’re good, it matters whether they like it,” VanHattum says.
Learn Math Fast Books
These seven books teach 1st to 12th grade math with a unique approach allowing the student to advance several grade levels in just one school year. Works for all learning styles, all ages, and there is no mention of grade level anywhere in the books. The first book looks as mature as the last. This system is being used by homeschoolers in every major city across America and the results are overwhelmingly positive! Kids are getting their self-confidence back, adults are finally learning math for the first time, and it’s all happening in record time.
Divisibility Rules of Numbers
Learning Multiplication Table Faster
Difficulties with Mathematics
What Can Stand in the Way of a Student’s Mathematical Development?
Math disabilities can arise at nearly any stage of a child’s scholastic development. While very little is known about the neurobiological or environmental causes of these problems, many experts attribute them to deficits in one or more of five different skill types. These deficits can exist independently of one another or can occur in combination. All can impact a child’s ability to progress in mathematics.
Incomplete Mastery of Number Facts
Number facts are the basic computations (9 + 3 = 12 or 2 x 4 = 8) students are required to memorize in the earliest grades of elementary school. Recalling these facts efficiently is critical because it allows a student to approach more advanced mathematical thinking without being bogged down by simple calculations.
Many students, despite a good understanding of mathematical concepts, are inconsistent at computing. They make errors because they misread signs or carry numbers incorrectly, or may not write numerals clearly enough or in the correct column. These students often struggle, especially in primary school, where basic computation and “right answers” are stressed. Often they end up in remedial classes, even though they might have a high level of potential for higher-level mathematical thinking.
Difficulty Transferring Knowledge
One fairly common difficulty experienced by people with math problems is the inability to easily connect the abstract or conceptual aspects of math with reality. Understanding what symbols represent in the physical world is important to how well and how easily a child will remember a concept. Holding and inspecting an equilateral triangle, for example, will be much more meaningful to a child than simply being told that the triangle is equilateral because it has three equal sides. And yet children with this problem find connections such as these painstaking at best.
Some students have difficulty making meaningful connections within and across mathematical experiences. For instance, a student may not readily comprehend the relation between numbers and the quantities they represent. If this kind of connection is not made, math skills may be not anchored in any meaningful or relevant manner. This makes them harder to recall and apply in new situations.
Incomplete Understanding of the Language of Math
For some students, a math disability is driven by problems with language. These children may also experience difficulty with reading, writing, and speaking. In math, however, their language problem is confounded by the inherently difficult terminology, some of which they hear nowhere outside of the math classroom. These students have difficulty understanding written or verbal directions or explanations, and find word problems especially difficult to translate.
Difficulty Comprehending the Visual and Spatial Aspects and Perceptual Difficulties.
A far less common problem — and probably the most severe — is the inability to effectively visualize math concepts. Students who have this problem may be unable to judge the relative size among three dissimilar objects. This disorder has obvious disadvantages, as it requires that a student rely almost entirely on rote memorization of verbal or written descriptions of math concepts that most people take for granted. Some mathematical problems also require students to combine higher-order cognition with perceptual skills, for instance, to determine what shape will result when a complex 3-D figure is rotated.
How to teach your child math!
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This site is composed of many math “fill-in-forms” into which you can type the math problem you’re working on. Linked to these forms is a powerful set of math-solvers, that can instantly analyze your problem, and when possible, provide you with a step-by-step solution, instantly!
At Webmath, you don’t have to wait for an email response or post your question to an electronic bulletin board and hope someone will answer it. You can get the answer to your math problem right here, right now!
10 Great Math Apps for Kids
These fun apps will reinforce basic arithmetic concepts and spark a love for learning math.
Map Apps for Kids
When it comes to teaching your kids math skills, you’ve done it all: quizzes over breakfast, extra homework help, bedtime stories that sneak in math concepts. If you’re looking for new, clever ways to help your kid gain the skills she needs, all you need is a smartphone. We’ve picked our 10 favorite math mobile apps for kids of different ages, all designed to teach four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division); some even meet Common Core State Standards. Download one (or all!) of these apps and we promise that your kid will hardly even know she’s learning while playing.
Math Training for Kids
Three difficulty levels and the four basic concepts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) in this simple app that teaches solid math fundamentals will help your child become more skilled. (Ages 3 and up; Free; Android)
Download Math Training for Kids on Google Play
The main task here is to pass all eight levels within a certain time frame by answering 10 math questions at each level (including ones about fractions and greater than/smaller than numbers.). Each question allows 30 seconds of answering time; for correct answers, players are rewarded with an additional four seconds. Dynamically generated questioning means that kids get new questions every time they play. (Ages 3 to 5; Free; Android)
Download Kids Math on Google Play
Preschool Math Games for Kids
Young kids will get experience counting, tracing and reading numbers in a fun, interactive way. And don’t let the name fool you! This app also features math exercises (addition, subtraction, sequence patterns, and more) for elementary schoolers—up to the 3rd grade level. (Ages 2 to 8; Free, Android)
Download Preschool Math Games for Kids on Google Play
Gorgeous colors and stunning visuals (plus cute caterpillars and butterflies!) on the display is enough to keep kids engaged. Feed the caterpillars by counting and catching aphids in the correct number sequence and earn butterflies (displayed in a gallery) to progress through more than 45 levels. (Ages 4 to 5; $1.99; iPhone, iPad)
Download Counting Caterpillar on iTunes
Peter Pig’s Money Coin Counter
Developed by Visa, this app helps kids practice sorting, counting, and identifying the value of U.S. coins to earn virtual money. Along the way, Peter Pig (a virtual piggy bank) helps kids learn facts about U.S. currency that are read aloud in a child’s voice. (Ages 4 to 7; Free; Android)
Download Peter Pig’s Money Counter on Google Play
Marble Math Junior
Solve a variety of math problems by collecting numbers and bonuses as you navigate a marble maze. With three difficulty levels and 16 marble styles, this app can be personalized to fit your kid’s skills and personality. It also lets you customize games to concentrate on the areas in which your child needs the most help. (Ages 6 to 8; $2.99; iPhone, iPad)
Download Marble Math Junior on iTunes
Crazy Times Tables
Your child will love this app because of its fun, games, and photo features, but you’ll love it too. The app takes a personalized approach by identifying his learning stage to help him master his times tables. (Ages 5 to 10; $2.99; iPhone, iPad)
Download Crazy Times Tables on iTunes
Let’s Do the Math
Keep kids busy for hours with 15 different types of exercises in three categories and 50 word problems that focus on addition and subtraction. The app can be used either as flash cards or as a series of puzzles to teach basic concepts. (Ages 6 and up; Free; Android)
Download Let’s Do the Math on Google Play
Thinking Blocks Multiplication
Use number blocks to solve multiplication word problems, a strategy supported by Common Core standards. This app introduces kids to six problem solving models, which helps them organize information and visualize number relationships. (Ages 7 to 10; Free; iPhone, iPad)
Download Thinking Blocks Multiplication on iTunes
Mathmateer, voted one of the top 10 best apps for elementary school kids by Appolicious (the app directory), appeals to kids’ creative side. To build a rocket ship to launch into space, kids must earn money by completing basic math challenges while recognizing patterns and shapes, telling time, and working on fractions and square roots. (Ages 9 to 11; $0.99; iPhone, iPad)
Helping Your Child Learn Math
How do you feel about math? Your feelings will have an impact on how your children think about math and themselves as mathematicians. Take a few minutes to answer these questions:
Do you think everyone can learn math?
Do you think of math as useful in everyday life?
Do you believe that most jobs today require math skills?
If you answer “yes” to most of these questions, then you are probably encouraging your child to think mathematically. Positive attitudes about math are important for your child’s success. This book will help reinforce these positive attitudes about math.
Mathematics as Problem Solving, Communication, and Reasoning
Helping your child learn to solve problems, to communicate mathematically, and to demonstrate reasoning abilities are fundamental to learning mathematics. These attributes will improve your child’s understanding of and interest in math concepts and thinking. Before beginning the activities in this book, let’s first look at what it means to:
Be a Problem Solver,
Communicate Mathematically, and
Demonstrate Reasoning Ability.
A problem solver is someone who questions, investigates, and explores solutions to problems; demonstrates the ability to stick with a problem to find a solution; understands that there may be different ways to arrive at an answer; considers many different answers to a problem; and applies math to everyday situations and uses it successfully. You can encourage your child to be a good problem solver by involving him or her in family decision making using math.
To communicate mathematically means to use words, numbers, or mathematical symbols to explain situations; to talk about how you arrived at an answer; to listen to others’ ways of thinking and perhaps alter their thinking; to use pictures to explain something; and to write about math, not just give an answer. You can help your child learn to communicate mathematically by asking your child to explain a math problem or answer. Ask your child to write about the process she or he used, or to draw a picture of how he or she arrived at an answer to a problem.
Reasoning ability means thinking logically, being able to see similarities and differences about things, making choices based on those differences, and thinking about relationships among things. You can encourage your child to explain his or her answers to easy math problems and to the more complicated ones. As you listen, you will hear your child sharing his or her reasoning.
Math Talk with Infants and Toddlers
Will feeds Maya, his 8-month-old daughter. He pauses for a moment and Maya signs “more.” Will laughs. “You want more? Okay, here it comes!” When the bowl is empty, Will says and signs, “All gone. Maya ate her food. All gone.” Maya looks at him and smiles.
Children develop math concepts and skills very early in life. From the moment they are born, babies begin to form ideas about math through everyday experiences and, most important, through interactions with trusted adults. Language—how we talk with infants and toddlers about math ideas like more, empty, and full—matters.
Math is everywhere!
We use basic math language all the time, without realizing it. For example, when we separate clothes by color, we’re using the math concepts of sorting and classifying. When we keep score during a game and determine how much our team is ahead or behind (number and operations), or give someone directions to get from one place to another (spatial relationships)—that’s math. We constantly use comparison words (measurement) such as big and little and use patterns to explain the order of daily routines and activities (“We brush our teeth after breakfast”). With our children, we play games and sing songs that use numbers and counting (such as ”One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”).
Even without our support, infants and toddlers use math concepts to make sense of their world. For example, infants like Maya signal when they want more food. More is one of the first math concepts understood by children. Babies tell us—often dramatically—that they know the difference between familiar and unfamiliar adults (sorting and classifying). Toddlers try to climb into boxes of various sizes (spatial relationships) and say words and phrases from familiar stories or songs that use repetition (patterns).
We can make the math that occurs in daily life visible to children through math talk. Each day offers us countless opportunities to help children deepen their understanding of math concepts. The more we talk math, the better chance infants and toddlers have to build a positive attitude toward math learning and learning in general.
Basic math concepts
When we are aware of early math concepts, we can be more thoughtful in our everyday interactions with infants and toddlers. Here are five basic math concepts that can be woven into our everyday conversations with infants and toddlers.
1. Number and operations—understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting.
“You have two eyes, and so does your bear. Let’s count:–1, 2.”
“I have more crackers than you do. See, I have 1, 2, 3, and you have 1, 2. I’m going to eat one of mine. Now I have the same as you!”
“That’s the third time I’ve heard you say mama. You’ve said mama three times!”
2. Shapes and spatial relationships (geometry)—recognizing and naming shapes, understanding the physical relationship between yourself and other objects and the relationships between objects.
“Look, Jason went under the climber and Aliyah is on top!”
“You’re sitting next to your brother.”
“Some of the crackers we have today are square, and some are round.”
3. Measurement—size, weight, quantity, volume, and time.
“Moving that chair is hard. It’s heavy.”
“Your nap lasted a long time today!”
“Let’s count how many steps it takes to reach the mailbox.”
4. Patterns, relationships, and change—recognizing (seeing the relationships that make up a pattern) and/or creating repetitions of objects, events, colors, lines, textures, and sounds; understanding that things change over time and that change can be described with math words. These are the basic building blocks of algebra!
“Daddy has stripes on his shirt—white, blue, white, blue, white, blue.”
”Let’s clap to the beat of this song.”
“I put the blocks in the bucket; you dump them out. I put the blocks back in the bucket; you dump them out!”
“Our plant looks taller today. I think it grew overnight.”
5. Collecting and organizing information—gathering, sorting, classifying, and analyzing information (data) to help make sense of what is happening in the environment.
“Let’s put the big lid on the big bowl and the small lid on the small bowl.”
“You always smile when Mommy sings to you!”
“Let’s put the dolls in the basket and the balls in the box.”
Talk math with your child as a matter of routine. For example, diapering, meal and bath times, neighborhood walks, and shopping trips are ideal times to count, point out shapes and sizes, talk about patterns, and describe how things are the same and different.
Make a list of math talk words and phrases. Post it on the refrigerator or somewhere else handy to remind you to take advantage of math talk opportunities.
Math talk enriches everyday learning experiences for infants and toddlers. You’ll be surprised at how much they know and can learn. Your math talk today can help your children be successful in math as they get older.
Source: Adapted from a Rocking and Rolling column written by Jan Greenberg and published in the May 2012 issue of Young Children. The full article is available at www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201205/RockingAndRolling_YC0512.pdf.
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Need some geometry help? We have more than thirty excellent geometry lessons here, broken up in general topics. Make sure to browse all of the topics to find what you need, or search by keyword.
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Quick Math Website
Quick Math is one of the first sites of its kind on the internet. There are many sites where you can post a question and get an answer (eventually) from someone who volunteers to help you. There is one other site that I know of which does algebra, but it is only useful if you learn the intricacies of its host mathematical kernel. Quick Math is the first site where you can simply type in an expression in a fairly intuitive way, hit a button and get the answer right there on your screen a few seconds later.
Quick Math was conceived and developed my me, Ben Langton. I live in Sydney, Australia, but the calculations for Quick Math are done on a remote Math Script server in Delaware, US. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Sydney, with First Class Honors in applied mathematics, and I hold a PhD in general relativity from the same university. I am keenly interested in the internet and mathematical programming, so Quick Math is a nice way for me to combine my skills in these areas to produce something useful.
Quick Math is an ongoing project. The site you are looking at right now is version 3.0, a vast improvement over version 1 (which only replied to answers by email). Quick Math is constantly evolving in ways which are dictated primarily by you, dear user. So have your say if you want something on Quick Math which isn’t already there – chances are you’ll get it in the next version!
Math Playground is a popular learning site filled with math games, logic puzzles and a variety of problem solving activities. A favorite of parents and teachers, Math Playground provides a safe place for children to learn and explore math concepts at their own pace.
Basic Math help website. If you need help on basic math this is a nice website to assist you.
QuickMath is one of the first sites of its kind on the internet. There are many sites where you can post a question and get an answer (eventually) from someone who volunteers to help you. There is one other site that I know of which does algebra, but it is only useful if you learn the intricacies of its host mathematical kernel. QuickMath is the first site where you can simply type in an expression in a fairly intuitive way, hit a button and get the answer right there on your screen a few seconds later.
QuickMath was conceived and developed my me, Ben Langton. I live in Sydney, Australia, but the calculations for QuickMath are done on a remote MathScript server in Delaware, US. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Sydney, with First Class Honours in applied mathematics, and I hold a PhD in general relativity from the same university. I am keenly interested in the internet and mathematical programming, so QuickMath is a nice way for me to combine my skills in these areas to produce something useful.
QuickMath is an ongoing project. The site you are looking at right now is version 3.0, a vast improvement over version 1 (which only replied to answers by email). QuickMath is constantly evolving in ways which are dictated primarily by you, dear user. So have your say if you want something on QuickMath which isn’t already there – chances are you’ll get it in the next version!
Math Resources Junior High
The Junior High materials of this page are a collection of on-line resources designed to be used by
students and teachers (parents) in the study and review of junior high mathematics.
(Materials are designed for the Common Core State Standards.)
Great Site for Math
You enter the problem it helps with the solution
Math Help – TuLyn
We believe education should be affordable for everyone and we shaped our business model around this belief. Though TuLyn is not a non-profit organization, since we launched our site, we have provided our services to students free of charge by crediting certain percentage of our advertising revenue and all of the donations we have received to their member accounts.
Math is one of the most important skills one should obtain to succeed in life. From grocery shopping to building human colonies on Mars, it plays an essential role.
We have created over 2000 math video tutorial clips, hundreds of practice word problems and printable worksheets.
The moment a visitor becomes a free member, we put 10 hours of video tutorial view credits into his or her account. Then, we reward every sign-in, word problem submission, word problem solution submission and membership refferrals to let them maintain a positive account balance. We know this approach works because over the last two years, we have helped thousands of students to improve their Math skills without charging them a penny.
Our free membership lets students, parents and educators access all of our video tutorials, word problems and worksheets.
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Sites devoted to enhancing mathematics skills.
Free Math Help
Hello and welcome to FreeMathHelp.com! The site was launched a long time ago, back in June of 2002. Since then, the site has expanded greatly. Typically we see over a million visitors each month during the school year! We have tens of thousands of registered users of our message board who have posted almost 200,000 posts!
Everything you see on this site is completely free, to help you or your kids succeed, and is only supported by advertising. That’s why there are certain features of the site that may link you to other companies who offer paid services, but usually they are well worth your money if you are interested.
If you are interested in contacting me for more information, please visit the contact page. Sometimes it will take a while for me to respond, because I also have a day job. Unfortunately I can’t respond to all of the personal requests for math help I receive every day.
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What they do: World presents a variety of math resources that all teachers — math teachers and teachers who get headaches thinking about teaching math — can use to liven up instruction. Find dozens of valuable math teaching ideas in our Math Subject Center.
Algebrahelp.com is a collection of lessons, calculators, and worksheets created to assist students and teachers of algebra. Here are a few of the ways you can learn here…
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My Favorite Thing: tons of fun online games to practice concepts
Hooda Math is a top 10 math website geared toward helping kids practice and learn through fun computer games. Specific topics the games work with are: addition, subtraction, multiplication, addition, geometry, basic physics, fractions, integers, and algebra.
Kids learn best when having fun! Here is a game I started to play practicing geometric understanding and special reasoning.
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The Exciting Math Website For Kids
KidsNumbers.com is the absolutely free math resource designed by teachers, specifically for students and children of all ages. A place where students can practice all aspects of math, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, in a fun and pressure free way with cool math games.
Math Foundations is a cutting edge, free 12 week program that will help build the foundation your student needs to do well with mathematics.
Teachers – Use Our Free Worksheet Generator To Create Customized Worksheets!
Play all 25 of these arcade-style math games, including Ball Hogs, Mummy Hunt, Bumble Numbers and more!