Math is one of the core subjects taught in schools. It’s core because it’s a universal language of communication. Irrespective of which domain, subject, or field, math is essential for communication. It quantifies and gives us a sense of the world we live in.
So, how are you doing in math? Do you enjoy working through it or is it a nightmare that haunts you in your sleep?
To enjoy math, you have to get the basics right. You have to understand and internalize the small blocks that build up to form its complex structures.
This article provides a simple framework to study and understand the basics of math.
The Best Way to Learn Fraction
Fraction is one of the topics in math students find tricky at first acquaintance. It involves a different set of rules that are more complex than addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Therefore, there’s a need for a gentler approach for someone who is learning fractions for the first time.
Fraction simply means a part of something. When you take a small part out of something, the part you take out is a fraction of the whole. For instance, if you cut a full pizza into 8 parts and then take out one of the 8 parts, the part you take out represents 1/8 of the whole pizza. The remaining part would then represent 7/8 of the whole. If you take out 3 of the 8 pieces of pizza, it represents 3/8.
Fraction is very applicable in real life. Here are some areas where you can apply them:
- Mixing things
The first task a math teacher has is to help students understand and conceptualize what a fraction is. Students have to fully grasp its meaning to be able to solve problems on their own or apply it in other topics.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Picking out: Fraction can be taught or learned through the concept of picking out. If you pick out 2 balls from a set of 5 balls, that’s 2/5. If you pick out 3 pens from a dozen pens, that’s 3/12. Fraction is that simple. What you pick out over the total.
- Sharing: Sharing is another concept of teaching and learning fractions. It’s similar to picking out but offers a different angle of explanation. Here’s how it works: If you share 1 pizza between 4 people, each of them gets 1/4 of the entire pizza. If, however, the pizza is shared between 2 people, each gets 1/2 of the entire pizza. What if 3 pizzas are shared between 2 people? That’s going to be 2/3. If 5 pizzas are shared between 3 people, that’s 5/3. Again, it’s that simple.
Well, the beauty of division is for you to be able to manipulate them. After you grasp their meaning, the next step is to learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide them.
Performing Operations with Fractions
Addition and subtraction of fractions: The first operations to master with fractions are addition and subtraction. To add and subtract, you would need to be able to find LCM of their denominators.
Multiplication and division of fractions: Multiplying and dividing fractions does not require you to find LCM. All you need do is multiply or divide the numerators and the denominators accordingly.
How to Master Fractions
Here are a few steps to help you master fractions:
- Practice: Like any other math topic, to be grounded with fractions, you’d need to do a lot of practice. Get your hands dirty with a series of exercises. Add, subtract, divide and multiply them. Then repeat the process.
- Games: Games can help you practice and help you become grounded with fractions. Games like Roll Slide, Shake It Up, and Jump can help you master fractions while you have fun.
- Mental Effort: You’ll come across fractions every day as you navigate the world. At school, in the supermarket, while watching TV. Try to figure them out mentally.
Help to Grasp the Times table
The times table is a tool that helps you do multiplication faster. It contains the simple multiplication of numbers in rows and columns. It was designed by a Greek Mathematician named Pythagoras to be a quick reference for the simple multiplication of numbers.
While the times table does not and cannot possibly contain all instances of multiplication, it can be used to do any multiplication.
Why is the Times table Important
You may be multiplying every day. The multiplication table or the times table helps you grasp and memorize the multiplication of simple numbers, say, from 2 to 12.
Here are some benefits of grasping the multiplication table.
- Faster than using a calculator: If you master the multiplication table, you don’t have to wait and punch a calculator every time you need to calculate 9 x 8 or 5 x7. They exist in your brain, the fastest place to access them.
- Builds your confidence through school: Multiplication is one of the fundamental bedrocks of mathematics. Mastering it gives you the confidence to go higher. The times table offers you speed and accuracy with multiplication which invariably builds your confidence through school.
- Promotes number sense: Knowing the multiplication table helps you appreciate and have a comprehensive sense of counting, measuring, quantity, distance, grouping, time, and estimation. It gives you the skill to comprehend their values and extent without resulting in a calculator.
- Application in real life: Multiplication is beyond an ordinary prerequisite necessary to pass math classes. You do it every day, and everywhere. As long as numbers exist, you’ll continue to multiply.
Techniques to Master the Times Table
To appreciate the times table, you must first learn how to multiply. After learning how to multiply, the times table is then introduced as a tool for making multiplication easier. So, much of the work in mastering multiplication is in learning how to multiply.
- Compare multiplication to addition: In essence, multiplication is like progressive addition. 3x2 is simply 3+3. 5x3 is simply 5 added to itself 3 times as 5+5+5. Since students must have been familiar with addition before being introduced to multiplication, exploring multiplication from the perspective of addition is the simplest way to go about it.
- Start small and progress in small bits: Once you grasp the meaning of multiplication, it’s time to move further. Learn how to multiply by 1, then by 2, 3, etc. Move one inch at a time.
- Play Multiplication Games: Go to the Android or iOS store, you’ll find a lot of multiplication games to help you practice and master multiplication. As you go higher in level, the challenges become tougher. So is your multiplication skill.
- Memorize: The essence of the times table is to memorize it so you can perform simple multiplications without thinking about them. Find the time to consciously commit them to memory.
The Best Ways to Learn Division
Division is one of the four operators a child is introduced to immediately after learning to count and write numbers. The other three are addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Together, they are used to manipulate numbers.
However, like fractions, division is a little more complex than the others. Teachers, therefore, need to put in more effort to get students to grasp it.
Learn Division the Easy Way
Before you learn division, you should understand addition, subtraction, and multiplication. However, the first step in learning division is to grab its concept. Learn more about division techniques here.
Here are some suggestions:
- Dividing: Dividing is one of the simplest ways to teach and learn division. 10/5 would mean dividing 10 pens between 5 students. 15/5 would mean dividing 15 pieces of cake between 5 children. For students to properly understand this concept, it should be visual.
- Grouping: Another way to explain division is through grouping. 10/5 would mean to group 10 things into 5 places where each group would have 2 members.
Division Without Remainder
After grasping the meaning of division, students should be introduced to simple division without remainder. Divisions like 4/2, 6/3/ 10/3, which can be done easily within a few seconds or minutes. Students should do a lot of these to imprint division into their subconscious mind. From here they can easily progress to:
Division with Remainder
Division with remainder follows. It’s not difficult to grasp. When there’s a remainder, the remainder is expressed as a fraction. For instance, 7/3 is 2 remainder 1. It can be mathematically represented as 2 1/3. The next step after division with remainder is:
Long division is long. It helps you solve complex division problems like 1132/50, 54887/56, 3436/13, etc. With long division, you’ll be able to divide any set of numbers no matter how complex.
The Best Math Revision Aid
Mathematics is a subject that needs constant revision. Revision aids help you revise with ease. With a smartphone and the internet, it’s easy. Several websites allow you to learn and revise while having fun.
Here are some of the best math revision aids:
- MalMath: Malmath is an easy-to-use mathematics app with thousands of solved exercises to help students learn and practice. Their solutions are detailed and easy to follow.
- GeoGebra: GeoGebra is an app that covers geometry, digital algebra, spreadsheet, and probability. It is well designed and has a simple user interface. It has a graph plotting feature that allows students to digitally plot graphs.
- PhotoMath: PhotoMath explains basic math topics ranging from algebra, trigonometry, to calculus. The app is easy to use and has a lot of worked examples. It’s a free tool that can be used offline with some limited functionalities.
- Brainly: Brainly math app is like a forum where students can connect and ask questions. As a Brainly user, you ask and solve questions. Students love it because it’s a social forum where they are challenged with multiple problems to solve.
- Gojimo: Gojimo is a free education platform that helps you prepare for math exams. There are a lot of solved questions and exercises to go through.
The platform that connects tutors and students