Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 19:00:31 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Missing the boat

Name: Judith
Who is asking: Parent
Level: Elementary

Our daughter is in Grade 3 and seems stubbornly determined NOT to learn how to add and subtract. Some of her teachers to date have suggested that she needs more visual approaches to teaching than the Ontarion curriculum permits (it seems if she doesn't get all of it she doesn't get any of it). With the summer coming up, we want to try and get her over some of the humps somehow. I'm afraid that I just learned my math through rote memory. This approach just doesn't seem to cut it with her. Do you know of any alternative approaches to teaching/learning math that are proving useful in such circumstances. (She likes computer games, but there doesn't seem to be any pink frilly princess games dedicated to building math skills). Thanks, I'd be glad to add any additional info you require.

Hi Judith

How about introducing her to problem solving? At home, select a problem, not necessarily a number problem to start out with, and work through it with her. Don't tell her how to do it but guide and answer questions. For example, using 4 squares, how many ways can you arrange these squares to make a garden. The area will always be 4 squares, but the shapes will be different. Squares can only touch each other by complete sides. If 2 squares only touch each other by their corners, it doesn't count. The idea is to get your child interested in solving problems (or figuring out how to win at games such as tic-tac-toe) and at some point she will need to use some arithmetic. She may at some point realize that there is a purpose for learning basic arithmetic.


A place where you might find some problems is the Elementary Level Problem of the Week at the Math Forum,

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