‘Maths is a bore’, ‘maths is difficult’, ‘maths is confusing’, are common phrases that we hear many children use often in school. Some children enjoy maths but most detest it!
Maths and the understanding of numbers is termed by many as confusing, difficult and complex and yet the world of numbers is the most simplest and easiest. What causes maths to become a monster? Simple, lack of a good grounding in number activities and understanding of basic concepts like addition, subtraction and multiplication, when these basics are not strong then all future maths learning is affected.
The early years in the child’s life should be about marvelling about the world of numbers, the child should be made aware of numbers around him, how he does counting, addition and subtraction in his everyday life, when he becomes conscious about these everyday maths activities maths will become less of a monster.
So then which are the basic foundations that are required for children to be ‘master in maths’? They are-
- Classification – the process of grouping or sorting objects into classes or categories according to a systematic characteristic, criteria or principle.
- Patterning – the process of creating repetitions of symbols or objects.
- One-to-one correspondence – the process of pairing or matching items or objects, for example, one napkin for each person.
- Ordering and sequencing – the process of ordering relationships, for example, smallest to largest or lightest to heaviest or least to most.
- Numeration – the ability to recognize numerals and place a correct numeral with a given number of objects. Three is a number, 3 is a numeral.
- Measurement – the comparison of items by a standard unit.
- Addition – the joining of sets.
- Subtraction – the separation of sets.
- Graphing – the process of classifying data.
- Fractions – a method of dividing items fairly.
A good school would ensure that the child can do all of the above in the sequence given so that the foundation of maths is strong in every child.
At home every parent can also help make children aware of the numbers in everyday activities.
1. Take one biscuit
2. Bring me half a glass of water
3. Let’s divide this bar of chocolate into 6 equal parts for all 6 of you
4. Lay the table and see that each plate has a spoon and a glass
5. Fold these handkerchiefs into half
6. Put all the small glasses here and the big glasses there
7. Sort your teddy bears into groups – small one, brown ones, big ones
8. Bring me the second book from the shelf
9. Count all the spoons
10. Give daddy a big bowl, give me a medium bowl and you use a small bowl
11. Let’s put all the long strings here and put the short strings in the box
12. Get me three things in the house that have any numbers on them
13. While you are reading a magazine or newspaper, give your child an old one and ask him/her to circle all the numbers that he can find or circle only number 9 etc
14. While travelling in a car, let them look out of the window and shout when they see a car with a 9 in its number plate or last number is 9 or first number is 9 etc
15. While taking your older kids out for a treat, tell them that my budget for each of you is 150 now look in the menu and choose what you want to eat , but add the cost of each and it should be within 150
Also when children hate maths, make them aware of how no day of theirs is complete without using maths, this is fun as numbers start appearing in the smallest everyday task and soon children realise that we cannot live without numbers. so let’s start making numbers enjoyable, start counting the hours of fun with your child!
Dr. Swati Popat Vats
Parenting Mentor and Coach