Math Facts – Try Some Fun Ways to Learn Them

Memorizing math facts is a necessary part of elementary school. Flash cards and repetitive chanting have their place, but, for my children, were pure drudgery. Frustrated by their lack of interest in practicing their math facts, I have searched for ways to make memorizing math facts more fun.

Our favorite math web site, Aplusmath is an easy to use site offering a worksheet generator, online flashcards and games including Matho, Concentration and Hidden Pictures. Matho combines both bingo and math facts in an exciting timed game. Or, match the math problem to the answer in concentration. Discover beautiful photographs by solving math problems in the hidden pictures game.

Both of my children enjoy music, so tapes and CD’s are perfect for us. Rock ‘n Learn makes fun audio programs featuring “cool music that teaches”. The math facts programs come in rap, rock and country versions to satisfy a variety of musical tastes. My son happily reviews multiplication facts to a funky rap beat.

A favorite educational “toy” is Leap Frog’s Twist & Shout. Children twist and shout their way to learning facts. It’s fun, it’s lively and the learning is done to a toe-tapping musical beat. Kids move and groove their way through four games, each with a “teach” and a “quiz” mode. Then they twist the number dial to solve the equation and hit it to select an answer. Answers are heard and seen on the LCD screen.

We have also made good use of the Hot Dots flash cards. Hot Dots flashcards can be used like regular flash cards, or add the Hot Dots Power Pen and children can drill independently with instant reinforcement! Kids simply touch the pen to a dot and it responds instantly signaling a correct or incorrect answer.

If traditional flashcards aren’t enough to inspire your kids to practice math facts, try these fun alternatives. Helping your child learn math facts now will make more advanced math so much easier. Have fun!

Helping Children Learn Math

Teaching math to children is sometimes a very difficult task. It is an entire subject that does not have the same easily explained concepts as some other topics. Each teacher has a slightly different way of instructing students about the basic and advanced concepts in mathematics. There are a few simple ways that parents and teachers can help children to learn math beyond what is in the core curriculum.

Develop The Correct Vocabulary

Math has its own distinct vocabulary. The word problems that are listed in teacher resource books go very far to try to explain real world examples of situations that require math as a solution. Ultimately, there will come a time when a student requires the correct understanding of the vocabulary of mathematics in order to describe procedures, solutions and even problems. Simple words like sum, divisor and product are all useful. This vocabulary will serve as the educational base needed to move forward with more advanced concepts. Allowing children to go forward without the correct vocabulary will result in problems in higher grades.

Integrate Lessons Into Everyday Life

There are limits to the operational memory of a child. There are also some basic facts about memory that will present problems if the lessons are not reinforced later in the day. New concepts like division or multiplication need to be refreshed within a few hours after they are first introduced. Homework normally helps with this. A better way would be for parents and teachers to integrate mathematical concepts into everyday life. This could include asking a student to divide resources between a group of classmates for a project, or it could include attaching creative games to other activities and subjects so that there is some awareness of the importance of math outside of testing. Additionally, establishing an environment that reminds children about mathematical concepts is helpful. This might mean hanging math posters around a room, or making games available that will help a child to practice the skills that have already been taught.

Move Beyond Procedural Understanding

Some students are able to move through many years of school with just a procedural understanding of mathematics. This means that the operations that are necessary are memorized, but they are not understood. It is important to teach children exactly how and why certain operations work. Rote memorization of division and multiplication will not help when more advance algebraic concepts are taught in high school. There are teacher resource books available that provide the tools needed to explain how division or fractions actually work.

How Soon Can a Child Learn Math? Part II

As was noted in the previous article, age requirement for beginning mathematics with your child will be depended upon a few things: 1) your readiness to come up with creative ways to teach and command attention and; 2) your willingness to exercise patience and a loving attitude. Early childhood learning, whether its mathematics or reading, works best when abilities are allowed to unfold naturally and isn’t hampered by the pressure of expectations one way or the other.

Below are practical tips for preparing your child’s mind for basic mathematics. These exercises can work well with preschoolers as early as three. However, a child a little younger can also be instructed if the child demonstrates proficiency with the 1 – 10 counting sequence and exhibits an eagerness as well as a quickness for learning. It is essential to utilize good teaching practices particularly for children this age for optimal success.

Institute a routine to impress upon the child that these sessions will indeed become a part of his/her day. All in all, let your intention be to make this an exciting time to begin your child on a productive journey of learning experiences.

Tips for early preparation conducive for creating junior mathematicians:

o Build upon toddler activities of counting using fingers 1-10 by purchasing computer programs, DVDs, workbooks for toddlers – ages 2.5 through 4.

o Using other objects in your environment to count: apples, oranges, toys, etc. During car trips, count the number of a particular color of cars. Count the number of seconds between green and red lights. Do this throughout the day so that it becomes a habit! If the child is not receptive, (ill or temperamental) do not attempt to engage him/her. Remember to associate learning with the good feelings of fun and enthusiasm.

o After they have mastered counting 1 – 10 and are able to do it with ease, make a first attempt at teaching basic addition.

o Introduce basic addition as a new game! Grab a total of 4 oranges (or apples, etc.). Initially keep the sums to numbers under 5.

o Start with one orange. Place it in front of the child and ask him/her how many oranges he/she sees. Confirm pleasantly that it is ONE orange.

o Now grab another orange and state clearly that you will now add another orange. Place it a little apart from the first orange and then ask how many oranges are there? If the answer is TWO oranges – state that he/she is correct and reward with praise. Be sure to give hugs and kisses.

o Here is the important part of the exercise. Slowly enunciate how 1 orange PLUS 1 more orange equals 2 oranges! Get them to comprehend the concept – slowly, calmly and patiently. Never add a negative tone. If you do, the exercise becomes heavy and undesirable; possibly sabotaging a constructive attitude needed for future proficiency in math.

o Add additional oranges (or other fun objects) as learning capacity expands, gradually moving up to sums equal to five.

When complete mastery of basic addition has occurred now would be a good time to introduce workbooks (and other instructional tools) featuring basic addition. Once the child gives cues that he/she is ready to move on, subtraction beginning with differences under 5, could be a next step.

Just a few more suggestions, if the child has a hard time understanding the concept behind the word PLUS use a substitute like “add ___ more” and so on. The bottom line is to ensure that a basic understanding of addition takes place. Again, keep it fresh and fun by “adding” all kinds of things around the house. Ensure that it becomes a habit by doing it daily! Stop before the child tires of the “game” simply because it creates eagerness.

Research a good kindergarten curriculum to determine which concept to tackle next and don’t hinder with superficial (i.e. age-appropriate curriculums) limits, especially if he/she is content and capable of learning it.

Bear in mind that with early childhood education, especially mathematics – consistency and progression is key!

Mini Math Bio – Thales, The Father of Geometry

Thales, the Greek mathematician from Miletus, Ionia (today’s Western Turkey), is credited for formulating the very first “Principles of Geometry.”

Imagine, although human beings were alive on earth for hundreds of thousands of years, they had to wait until 6th century B.C. to find out the following interesting rules that guide the behavior of triangles and circles:

Thales’ Rule No. 1: If you draw any triangle inside a circle, if the tip of the triangle is resting on the circumference and the diameter of the circle is forming the long side of the triangle, then the angle formed by the other two shorter sides forms a 90 degree right angle – regardless of the length of the shorter sides. (This rule is also commonly known as “Thales’ Theorem.”)

Thales’ Rule No. 2: The diameter of any circle bisects it into two equal parts and into two arcs of equal lengths.

Thales’ Rule No. 3: If two triangles have one side that is of equal length and two angles that are of equal degrees, then those two triangles are identical.

Thales’ Rule No. 4: Two straight lines crossing each other form four angles around their intersection point. The angles opposing one another are equal angles. That is, two intersecting straight lines form two pairs of equal angles.

Thales’ Rule No. 5: A triangle with two equal sides, i.e., an isosceles triangle, have equal angles where the equal sides intersect with the third side.

We owe the beginnings of our modern-day mathematics and geometry to a man who was so in love with what he is doing that one day, according to Plato, Thales fell into a water well while gazing at the stars. Thus perhaps it won’t be too much off the mark to say that Thales was also the very first “absent minded professor” we had.

Can Sudoku Help Students With Math?

Sudoku is a number puzzle game that, on the surface, should be ideal for kids to practice their math skills. Yes and no. Although students manipulate numbers to solve the puzzle, they don’t have to add, subtract, multiply, or divide any of these numbers. So how does playing Sudoku help with math?

First, math is more than arithmetic skills. Many of the skills necessary to succeed in math go beyond arithmetic, and sometimes these skills aren’t practiced enough at school or home. Some of these skills are in use when playing Sudoku. Let’s take a look.

These are some of the skills that Sudoku can help with:

Sorting. The challenge of Sudoku is to arrange the numbers 1 through 9 across every row and column of the grid, along with those same numbers in smaller 3 x 3 grids within the larger grid. No number can appear more than once along any row, column, or 3 x 3 grid. While completing the puzzle, a student needs to sort, arrange, and rearrange these numbers. This requires a level of organization and concentration that has benefits beyond math.

Visualization. While new Sudoku players will write, erase, and rewrite numbers as they solve the puzzle, the more adept player can visualize an arrangement of numbers before writing anything down. Visualization is such an important skill in math. Whether it’s visualizing a geometric transformation or the next step in the solution of an equation, this skill, so underrated, will provide students with a great deal of confidence as they solve problems. Visualization is a higher-order thinking skill.

Problem Solving. A student who completes a Sudoku puzzle has solved a fairly intricate problem. The average Sudoku puzzle is far more complex than a typical word problem in arithmetic, algebra, or geometry. While students may not believe this, most word problems focus on specific skills. Deciphering the text to get at the math concept is the same process as solving a puzzle. In addition, Sudoku encourages students to use these math problem solving strategies: guess and test, look for a pattern, solve a simpler problem, and use logical reasoning. Use Sudoku to enhance these problem solving skills in a low-stakes way.

By far, the most important facet of playing Sudoku is that students will have fun with numbers. This goes a long way toward removing math anxiety, or keep it from ever taking hold. Developing a facility with numbers is a great stepping stone to working with abstract concepts like variables and equations.

The Pros and Cons of Playing Fun Games to Make Math Fun

Sometimes it feels as if students of the 21st century expect to be entertained instead of being taught. Teachers worry that bringing math games into their classroom might just cater to that instead of promoting healthy learning. Playing fun games becomes a problem when they are used as a reward or a game for the sake of a game and not incorporated into the lesson. This article discusses the pros and cons of developing effective ways to make math fun by using fun games as part of their daily lessons.

Here are the Pros of using fun math games as part of every day lessons:

  1. The children think they are getting away with something, when they are really reviewing and reinforcing facts and concepts. You can keep their interest while working them hard.
  2. Students are not fools, they know they still are doing work, but given the choice would rather do a fun activity that boring drills. Motivation is key to learning and games are motivating!
  3. Playing fun games builds cooperative learning when breaking down into small groups to play the games. Games encourage positive interaction between students.
  4. Multisensory reinforcement with seeing, saying and doing is built in to the game playing experience. You “see, hear and say” while playing an educational game, and manipulate pieces and often cards as well.
  5. Playing some full classroom games to make math fun gives students a break and allows them to move around a bit; It activates their sensors!

Here are some Cons to using math games in your every day lessons:

  1. Games create too much emphasis on winning. It just takes one poor loser to ruin the activity for the whole class.
  2. It takes too much time to learn the rules and to get set up into small groups.
  3. Your classroom does not have movable desks to make some mini tables to play these board games.
  4. There will be an active noise level, a buzz in the room and you believe silence is golden.
  5. Teacher preparation time is increased initially to print out the games, and laminate if necessary.You simply do not have the time to make these activities.

Once materials are created or purchased and then organized in the most convenient way, and once the basic rules of the games are learned, children will be able to move desks around and get themselves ready to play fun games activity in no time. They want to participate, so they will move quickly. There is no better reinforcement process than multisensory activities. Using these kind of printable games and activities will not only give some multisensory reinforcement, but will also provide great ways to make math fun and educational at the same time. You cannot go wrong.

Easy and Practical Tips to Help Your Children With Their Math Homework

It doesn’t matter what level of school your child is currently enrolled in, it’s always a good idea to get them thinking about math. The reality is that if they want to go on to further education and a great career, a solid background in math is going to be absolutely crucial. You can help them get there by really taking the time to help them with their math homework. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to pull this off, as they are likely to already have some sort of grasp of what they are doing in class. Here are a few tips that you can use to help tutor your child with their math homework:

  1. Teach the basics first – you have to be able to walk before you can run, so make sure that your child understands the basics of math, as this will help them when they progress to more complex subjects. Flash cards are a great way to achieve this goal.
  2. Neat numbers – mathematical equations can be confusing enough without making them impossible to read. Try to make sure that your child writes down numbers and equations neatly, as this often makes them a little easier to see and understand.
  3. Master before moving on – make sure that your child fully grasps the problem they are working on before moving on to the next math problem.
  4. Get interactive – having your face stuck in a text book can be more than a little dull, so try to make learning fun by using object around the house that can be used to help solve math problems.
  5. Ask for a little more – ask your child to answer a few extra questions when they are doing their homework assignments. Going that extra mile will help ensure that they really do understand the mathematical concepts they are being taught.
  6. Test them regularly – when you are out and about with your child, pose them some questions to see how quickly they answer. For example, if you are grocery shopping and see a price has been marked down, ask them to quickly tell you how much the difference is between the old price and the new.
  7. Make time to study – try to get in the habit of studying at the same time every day, making sure it is at a time when you have no other commitments and can commit all the time to your child.
  8. Maintain a steady pace – don’t try to rush your child ahead, even if you are sure they are ready to move to the next level. Maintain a steady pace and always take time to recap what they have already learned.
  9. Keep at it – if your child is having a particularly difficult time with a particular concept, stick with it until they finally get it.
  10. Encourage – always be sure to praise your child for a job well done. Math can be tough for a young mind, so encourage them every step of the way.

If you have tried to really get involved with your child’s math homework, but still find that they are struggling, it might be time to consider a math tutor. You might just be surprised at how affordable math tutoring is, and you may be even more surprised at the great results your child will be able to achieve.

3 Fundamental Tips To Overcome GED Math Test Anxiety

Most test-takers think that the GED math test, in itself, is difficult. But that mainly comes from their fear of the subject. If you think that the GED math test is daunting, then it will be. So the first step in conquering your GED math test anxiety is to fight your own demons.

The thing with the GED math test is that other than talent, you need hard work and determination to go beyond it. Math is basically not scary, but what gets in the way your passing the GED math test is your fear of the subject. Math anxiety happens when you’re so scared that it hampers your thought processes. You then feel hopeless, uncertain and you lose your self-confidence, possibly causing you to fail. It’s a battle of the mind, so to speak, that’s why you have to harness your mental powers to be able to beat GED math test anxiety. Here are 3 fundamental tips.

  • Believe that you have prepared well for the test. You ought to have backed it up with sufficient action, but you have to believe that your preparation for the math test is enough. You should have accorded ample effort for quality preparation for the test, such as by enrolling in a review center, other than studying an online course. A reliable review center will be able to provide you with GED math study guides and practice sheets that have helped many test takers as well.
  • Don’t wallow in self-pity. One problem that puts a dent on your confidence when taking math tests is that you might have gotten low scores in the subject for many years in school. This kind of fear is learned, and can be a predominant cause of anxiety. Whenever you are experiencing anxiety, you’re focusing more on your negative thoughts and your fears, consequently defeating your performance. Remember the saying that “If others can do it, so can you”. You can pass the math test even if your grades in math were bad. Unlearn your belief that you are dumb in math. As you take practice tests, some answers you did right and some you did wrong, right? Bolster your confidence by focusing on your correct answers. This will instill your belief in your success and make you feel good about your performance in math.
  • Affirm your positive thoughts. Practice positive affirmations- short verses that you mentally or verbally repeat to help change your thoughts or feelings about something This concept was introduced by neuroscientists in the 1970’s and since then has been popular. You can change the way you think or feel about math by mentally or verbally reciting positive affirmations, ultimately helping you combat test anxiety. Some of them are:

“I’m smart and I can solve math problems”.

“I believe that my brain has enough capability to help me find solutions to math problems.”

“Math is not a difficult subject, it just needs attention and focus”.

“I am prepared and therefore I will pass the GED math test”.

Many test-takers fail in the GED math test because they were overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. The key to not committing the same mistake is to control your fears. Preparation is the antidote that will pacify your anxiety. Do your best to study for the GED math exam and believe in yourself and your capability to hurdle this particular feat.

5 Effective Tips To Teach Math For Slow Learners

Slow learners are not any different from the normal students in their intellectual abilities except that they are too distracted and the normal teaching methods do not help them comprehend what is taught. This is why you need special teaching methods for them. When appropriate method is adopted with adequate understanding and support from parents and teachers, these slow learners can turn out to be highly successful in all aspects of life.

There are several approaches and techniques that involve individual and group teaching based on the learning ability of a child, some of which are used by programs of learning centers for such children. These centers have specially trained teachers who use specialized software tools and teaching methodologies to make math and numbers more interesting. Here are five effective tips that professionals believe can help teach math for slow learners:

  1. Practical Lessons: Even normal students do not enjoy confined space for learning and it’s a higher challenge with slow learners. One of the best ways to get math into the child’s head is to make him do little additions, subtractions or multiplications that involve people, things, flowers, fruits, and other practical things that surround him during a walk or a drive.
  2. Teaching in Small Groups or Individually: Since students with slow learning ability require special attention, teaching them alone or in small groups would let the teacher focus on the specific inability of the student. Also, leaning in a group, with peers, would increase the social abilities of the child.
  3. Customized Plan: Students love classes filled with fun and creativity. That’s why several learning programs for slow learners have customized plans to polish the specific skills that these children lack. Hence, seeking professional help and having appropriate follow ups to help at home would be a great idea to teach mathematics to these children.
  4. Sound Therapy: This has remained one of the most successful methods, which involves using sounds and tools that stimulate auditory pathways and thereby aid listening and focus. Sound therapy also helps to enhance the auditory transmission process in brain by stimulating the muscles around the ear passage and helping to regain the original power or capability.
  5. Cognitive Training: The PACE or Processing and Cognitive Enhancement training program enhances the level of perception or cognition and helps the slow learners have increased attention span and focus, which is especially helpful in learning math. It also boosts the neurological connections and offers significant growth in the student.

How does the slow learner benefit

  • Adapting all the above methods and applying the right training program offers the following benefits:
  • Improved math computation skills
  • Better sequential processing and simultaneous processing
  • Sustained attention and working memory
  • Auditory processing and discrimination, which in turn boosts comprehension and more.

Complete support and appropriate methods of teaching can help any slow learner to be a math genius. So, be patient and use these tips to see how a slow learner starts loving and enjoying mathematics.

Helping Your Pre-Schooler With Math-Read Math With Your Child

We have already discussed the importance of developing a good math foundation for your preschoolers. The first, easiest, and best way to add math into your child's early life is to add math to the reading you already do with your child. It is never too early to begin reading to your child, and it is never too early to add math concepts to that reading.

It isn't necessary to run out and buy a bunch of preschool math books, although you might mention to friends and relatives that math related story books would be a good gift idea. You probably already have books with math concepts. For example, Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a wonderful story for introducing math concepts. It allows for early counting. It has size comparisons with too little, too big, and just right. It has one-to-one matching with baby bear and the little bed. Certainly you won't use this terminology, but as you read you can point out these concepts. Three Blind Mice , Three Little Pigs , Three Little Kittens , and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed are other good examples you might already have.

Before spending lots of money on books, I suggest checking your local public library. You can check out books, read them with your child, and if the book seems to be one of those books your child wants you to read over and over, THEN you can buy it. Certainly use your library before buying anything you haven't read from online sources.

If you are interested in buying your own math related books, I have several suggestions. I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss books. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb introduces large numbers. Ten Apples Up On Top! is a good counting book. One fish two fish red fish blue fish is good for counting and colors. Horton Hears a Who! even introduces the concept of infinity. Many other Dr. Seuss books contain number concepts, colors, and shapes for reading with your child.

You may have read about or heard of Baby Einstein. If so, you need to know that having your young child watching the videos is a very bad idea ! Research is showing that there should be NO SCREEN TIME for children under two and very limited time for the older child. However, the Baby Einstein My First Book of Numbers is a wonderful example of what a number picture book should be.

The Sesame Street book ABC and 1 2 3 is also an excellent math related picture book.

As you look into buying math picture books, there are some things you need to consider. The book should be colorful, interesting to you, and it needs to make sense – not just rhyme. Don't assume that because it is about numbers that it is a good book. For example, I came across a book called One, Two, Three! by Sandra Boyton. I actually got confused as I read! One line said "… and when you want to explore, the number you need is FOUR." WHY? What does four have to do with exploring? Another page said "Seven is perfect for a play." Again, I questioned what that even meant. Any book you pick needs to be something you can talk about with your child. Choose books that you can read with enthusiasm. If a book doesn't make sense to you, don't buy it. I want to reiterate that it is not necessary to buy lots of number related books because you can find number concepts like counting and making comparisons in virtually any book.

As you read to your child, you should work on what is called "the language of space." This refers to words like front, back, top, bottom, over, under, in front of, behind, first, last, in, on, corner, edge, surface, and so on. These are all important concepts for your child to understand when they start school. They can't line up behind the blue line if they don't know what 'behind' means.

When you are reading to your child, be sure to:

  1. Hold your child in your lap.
  2. Convey to your child how much you enjoy your reading time together.
  3. Read everyday.
  4. Get involved with the story. Read with lots of enthusiasm and expression. Use different voices. Be active by pointing out things on the pages. Ask questions.
  5. Pay attention to your child's responses. Know when to put the book away. If your child loses interest, do something different.
  6. Be prepared to read the same book over and over and be enthusiastic each time.

Above all else, make reading FUN!