Math is a key component on the frontier of change and human innovation and it’s important to teach children how to think in a mathematical way early on. Mathematics includes the study of quantity, structure, space, and change. The field of math looks for patterns and creates new theories. Children who excel in math go on to become the world's leading researchers, scientists, engineers, creative thinkers and visionaries.
Encouraging math learning in children starts with the parents, guardians and teachers. Teachers must use the best tools to teach maths to children.
Some teachers use teaching math equipment that allows students to learn while having fun. Creating an interactive learning model can prevent boredom and distractions in children.
Multiplying, adding, subtracting and dividing all lay the building blocks for the maths courses of the future. Fractions, calculus, arithmetic, algebraic and geometric equations all have no chance if the foundational comprehension is lacking.
Here are some tools that will allow you to restore your child's interest in more progressive mathematics education.
Different Learning Styles to Teach Children Math
Young children are full of energy and eager to play, interact and learn new things. A traditional classroom setting can be a challenging environment for many young children to focus on learning math.
The best way to teach children math without losing their fleeting attention is by creating interactive activities and games that allow young children to solve simple mathematical equations through real-world play.
In the book, Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning, Judy Willis MD, highlights that fun learning can improve and support the brain’s retention of information.
Insights from neuroscience research indicate that when we’re happy, our brain releases “feel food” chemicals that support better learning. Emotions like confusion or boredom release chemicals that tell our brains to shut down.
The first step to helping children feel happy and relaxed while learning is by catering to their specific learning styles. The following represents varying learning tools for children with disparate needs:
- Visual learner: A child that responds to visual cues may benefit from tools like flashcards with equations, colouring books with math problems or visual-based computer games that teach math.
- Auditory learner: A child that learns through hearing may retain more information through a catchy song that recites math equations, through the verbal repetition of numbers out loud or through fun math stories.
- Physical learner: Many children learn through interactive physical touch. These children may learn math using an abacus, building blocks or putty to make geometric shapes.
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Math Tools: Teaching Children Maths
Math tools can help teachers and parents interact with children as they learn. They can also be used with every style of learning, including visual, auditory and physical learning.
Math tools are becoming more advanced with technology, evolving from an abacus to an interactive math app on an iPad. There are a number of basic and more sophisticated tools to teach maths to children.
A historical and well-known maths resource used by school teachers, parents and educators is the abacus. An abacus is a set of small balls of different colours fixed on several bars within a frame. Each bar groups ten small balls in a line.
This structure allows children to see concretely the addition and subtraction system in action, to learn how to count. Through these different manipulations, children discover how to build numbers beyond ten and up to one hundred.
How to use an abacus:
- Teach students how to build a number. The child must transfer the number of balls needed to reach the requested figure.
- The child can also try to count the number of small balls set aside by the teacher.
Multicubes to Build Structures
Multicubes are colourful cubes similar to Lego. This is ideal for children in kindergarten or primary school and can be used to teach physical learners how to solve simple math problems.
How to use multicubes:
- Use multicubes to construct different figures, count blocks and engage in interactive geometry and algebra.
Tangram Puzzles To Learn Geometry
Tangram puzzles are used both in the classroom and at home. They are simply small, usually wooden pieces of geometric shapes in several colours. You will find hexagons, squares, triangles, diamonds and other shapes that can be put together to form colourful mosaics.
How to use tangram puzzles:
- Smaller tangram puzzles are used to explore geometric shapes and larger tangram puzzles are used by placing small pieces of mosaics with each other.
- Young children can work on their fine motor skills and spatial awareness by building unique shapes.
- Older children can also learn to reproduce complex shapes according to a predetermined model. There is the opportunity to change the difficulty according to the age of the child.
- Building tangram puzzles from predetermined geometric shapes introduce the notion of symmetry and strengthen a child’s ability to concentrate on tasks, which can support their overall learning experience.
The Wooden Strips Of Colour For Multiplication
It’s important for children to start foundational maths by learning the multiplication table or “times table”. This is largely a memorization practice and can be supported by maths tools such as wooden strips.
The wooden strips of colour are convenient for multiplying numbers. The set of strips has several lines and each has a different colour and corresponds to a specific number.
How to use wooden strips:
- The most common game is to ask students to use the visual cue on the wooden strips to observe how the number work together. For example, one strip may indicate that to obtain 5, it is necessary to put the 3 and 2 end to end.
Using Coins For Multiplication
Another way to teach children their multiplication is through shopkeeper role play. This exercise only requires coins and a little imagination.
One of the benefits of this exercise is that it teaches children how math can be applied to a real-world setting and engages their capacity for fun and play while learning.
How to use coins:
- Children can select items that they want to buy in “the shop” and the teacher will give them a price. To buy the items they want, they need to offer the right amount of coins. The children must hand over the correct number of wooden strips or coins to the value requested for their product.
Learning maths while having fun is the best way to remember it. These tools promote progression in mental arithmetic and help to develop the sensory aspect of maths in students new to mathematical calculations.
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Digital Apps to Teach Maths to Children
Physical tools can be extremely useful when teaching young children how to learn math. Another excellent and relatively new maths tool is the use of technology and apps to support learning.
Top 10 Maths Apps For Kids
There are numerous high-quality math apps that have been developed as games to attract the attention of young learners. Some of the most popular online math games for children ages 5-15 include:
- Splash Math Kindergarten Math App
- Little Solver Preschool Logic Game
- Montessori Numbers for Kids
- Khan Academy Kids
- Animal Math
- Pizza Fractions
- Math Learning Center
- Fetch! Lunch Rush by PBS Kids
You will be surprised just how effective these games are when your child actually requests to play them independently. Children are naturally curious, all they need is to have the method presented in colourful, fun and engaging formats. These games awaken the interest of children who are so keen to learn.
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