It seems to be pretty black and white, doesn’t it? You either love math or you hate it. Some kids shrink at the thought of math problems, new formulas, textbooks, and calculators. Other kids love the order, the logic, the fact that there’s one correct answer. Whether students believe it or not, math concepts affect nearly all aspects of life. Here’s why it’s important, and how to make math enjoyable:
Why is it important?
Consider the practical, obvious reasons. We need basic math concepts to tell time, plan our days, budget our money, buy a coffee, bake a cake, and calculate how many calories that cake offers.
But mathematical thinking – something we spend the first six years at Self Development Academy learning – is even further reaching. Mathematical thinking surpasses the manipulations of arithmetic and algebra. It takes visual and verbal analogies and helps students learn to critique, analyze, and reason.
Mathematical thinking creates a foundation for logic, reasoning, problem solving, philosophy, and even creative thinking.
If your child thinks he loathes math, here are some tips to open his eyes to the wonder, the beauty, the power of math. In short, here’s how to make math more enjoyable:
Don’t label it.
Once a student decides he doesn’t like math, or even worse, is bad at math, it’s hard to shed that label. Remind your student that everyone struggles in certain areas, and some concepts challenge us more than others. But point out his strengths in math, whether it’s grouping and sorting, keeping time when he plays an instrument, or meticulously measuring ingredients for his signature hot chocolate.
Practice with puzzles.
Find logic puzzles, word problems, and even jigsaw puzzles to stretch the mind. Whether it’s a physical puzzle or a logic puzzle, inspecting pieces and clues from all angles helps train the mind to approach a problem and solve it.
Play card games.
From simply playing war to playing poker, players of all ages can get better at math while making math enjoyable. There are also plenty of card games that incorporate addition or multiplication, like flash cards disguised as fun! Even a serious game of poker sharpens probability skills.
Dive into music.
Math is everywhere in music. Math explains how strings vibrate at certain frequencies, and sound waves are used to describe these mathematical frequencies. Music theory uses math to study elements of music such as tempo, chord progression, form, and meter. Once you start pointing out the math in music, you can’t unsee it. And you’d never want to unhear it.
Drink in nature.
Your student will be blown away when he learns that the everyday patterns he sees in nature are actually very mathematical. One example is the Fibonacci sequence, named for the famous mathematician, Leonardo Fibonacci. This is a simple, yet profound pattern found in nature, like spirals in a pine cone, seeds in a sunflower, or the number of petals on a flower. A Finonacci spiral makes up shells and hurricanes.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Continue your study – which doesn’t feel like study – by looking at fractals in fern leaves, hexagons in bee hives, and concentric circles in tree trunk rings.
Anyone who has a favorite song or instrument or appreciates the beauty in nature already loves math; he just might not realize it yet!
If you’d like to send your kids to a school that not only knows how to make math enjoyable, but genuinely refers to the wonder, beauty, and power of math, contact us! Self Development Academy is a K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa. If you are interested in our schools, contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information. We would love to have you!