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This is actually Part B., or a spin off from my chat today with a person...

 

This person said (long story short) that if I kept up my evil ways of rote memorization and the 1-12 math table with vigor, I was putting my child at risk of "math" hate...and into one of those "girls who hate math"-basically landing her in therapy at the age of 42, childless, in a house full of cats and heavy velvet curtains tucked away where the sun doesn't shine and her soul would be left heavy and dark...(I exaggerate, but you get the drift)

 

So I'm sitting here, chowing on pizza, watching the football games, surfing randomly as I ponder this lecture/dressing-down I received today with it's dire warning of gloom and doom...

 

I saw this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf9SwoWTGQI

 

My opinion? PR + $=:ack2:

 

So, out there, what do you guys think? Is it a myth, is there stats? Am I horrible for trying to get 8 x 5 across as a simple fact?

 

Should I just quit and let the magic math fairy fatten up her brain cells at the age of 9?

 

Is it Mars/Venus? Should Barbie have been recalled when she so unpolitically correctly said: "Math is Hard!"

 

(Just as a forward to my next approach on this, I'm going to try the Math Mammoth approach with number lines, skip counting in sequence next..and yes...I'm still painting her fingernails, and I may even sharpie facts on her palms come Monday morning.)

 

This child will learn 9 x 7 come Monday.

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Let me tell you what (eventually) turned my math-hating dd into a math-liking (still not loving) dd.... Kumon. Drill, drill, drill.

How can you love something if you cannot easily handle its tools?

Drill away so that she can have tools to use for the more interesting and thought provocing aspects of math.

 

Now, I drill my math loving ds too. For him, we separate the drill from the mathy stuff he loves. When we drill, I emphasize that I am simply giving him the tools. He can then use the tools to construct or deconstruct his masterpiece. :lol:

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DD believes herself to be "'Matilda' only with numbers" because of her facility with numbers and concepts. She appreciates (if not love) the things she does well and worked hard to master. We spend 15 minutes, 3x a week doing addition, subtraction and multiplication drills in addition to other things.

 

Still, my DD came home from school on Friday and said that the "smartest boy in the class" couldn't keep up with her on math drills and was using his fingers to count. When I said, "So if you were doing so much better, why do you think he's the smartest?" She calmly replied, "Because Mom, everyone knows he's the smartest!" (as if I were a total nutjob).

 

So, no matter how much as a girl may love or excel at math, I have to remind myself that there's only so much I can do to combat the perception that math is a 'boy' thing. :rolleyes:

Edited by Sneezyone
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I don't think you're traumatizing a child by requiring math facts to be known. But it's possible that it will kill the love of math in certain kids. It would have, in my son, for sure. He loves playing with letters, thankfully he's now reached algebra and beyond and having the time of his life.

My daughter is a different story altogether. Yes there might be the girl/boy thing going on, but it's really a personality difference in the case of these two kids. I never emphasized math facts for either of them, but rather math comprehension. For my girl I needed MUS to reach her. But it worked. It was never a problem for her to know her math facts, *and* to be able to reconstruct a math fact when having a brain fart. (and that happens to the best of us) She understands the number bonds a la Singapore, *and* she's got straightforward memorization.

 

I totally agree with Heigh Ho. Math facts should come *after* math understanding, not before.

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She probably got 2, 5, 10 easily. Now, just do one multiplication fact a day.

So today is 6*5 = 30. So if 6*5 is 30, what's 6*6? Yes, so tomorrow when you do 6*6, she sort of already knows it..... She will be fine. Slowly and steadily and she will have it all down in couple of months.

I prefer to think girls are just as good in math, but find drills boring :001_smile:

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Balderdash!

 

My opinion: Gender stereotyping = :ack2:

 

I do find it rediculous to make a claim such as ALL girls learn math this way or that way. Anyone with multiple children knows each one is a completely unique individual with a completely unique set of requirements for maximum learning. Who the hell is whoever that was who ripped you a new one to tell YOU how your daughter learns best?

 

From my experience, a good mix of activities is what proves most effective, and in one-on-one instruction you can taylor that more specifically to the child's needs.

 

You know your dd. That lady can take a walk.

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This is actually Part B., or a spin off from my chat today with a person...

 

This person said (long story short) that if I kept up my evil ways of rote memorization and the 1-12 math table with vigor, I was putting my child at risk of "math" hate...and into one of those "girls who hate math"-basically landing her in therapy at the age of 42, childless, in a house full of cats and heavy velvet curtains tucked away where the sun doesn't shine and her soul would be left heavy and dark...(I exaggerate, but you get the drift)

 

My mother drilled the multiplication tables with me everyday on the way home in 3rd grade. I'd complain, "Mooooommm, do we have to?"

 

To this day, I love math! I am 42, not in therapy (but maybe should be, unrelated to math), have children, no cats (I have a greyhound that often acts like a cat, though), and not a velvet curtain in sight!

 

Myth busted!!

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DD believes herself to be "'Matilda' only with numbers" because of her facility with numbers and concepts. She appreciates (if not love) the things she does well and worked hard to master. We spend 15 minutes, 3x a week doing addition, subtraction and multiplication drills in addition to other things.

 

Still, my DD came home from school on Friday and said that the "smartest boy in the class" couldn't keep up with her on math drills and was using his fingers to count. When I said, "So if you were doing so much better, why do you think he's the smartest?" She calmly replied, "Because Mom, everyone knows he's the smartest!" (as if I were a total nutjob).

 

So, no matter how much as a girl may love or excel at math, I have to remind myself that there's only so much I can do to combat the perception that math is a 'boy' thing. :rolleyes:

I think there's a great deal of sexism in many countries regarding math. Still, knowing memorized math facts is not the same as having math talent. (The boy may indeed have a good deal of math talent, or he might not-- I certainly don't think your daughter should automatically feel lesser on the basis of others' opinions.)

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Let me tell you what (eventually) turned my math-hating dd into a math-liking (still not loving) dd.... Kumon. Drill, drill, drill. How can you love something if you cannot easily handle its tools?

Drill away so that she can have tools to use for the more interesting and thought provocing aspects of math.

It depends on the child and situation. Mathematically gifted children often chafe at too much drill, and can get by with a minimum of memorization and pick up the rest in the course of working problems.

 

I believe that drills, especially speed drills, in grades 1-4 on addition/subtraction and multiplication/division facts are largely motivated by "teaching to the test", at least in the U.S. The public schools in my district have spent the first two months in grades 1-3 normal math classes almost exclusively drilling on math facts, on the advice of the district math consultant, who was hired because of our district's Title I status in math. I think it's pretty lame and guaranteed to bore many of the children, though I understand the desire to improve on metrics. Are they really learning math when there's an exclusive focus on memorization?

Edited by Iucounu
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Don't bother with rote memorization until she has gone through the appropriate pages of SM...the ones where she uses the properties to figure out what 9x7 is and comes to know multiplication. Then go for the practice of using that knowledge quickly (war) and then for fluency on paper (timed test). Why? I"ve known enough six year old first graders that have memorized the entire table flawlessly. Great memories. When they get to 3rd, they don't have the self-discipline to understand the lessons on multiplication using the properties...they jump to the memorized facts. They struggle forever on because they don't know the number bonds and properties. Word problems are a nightmare because they don't 'get it'. Read thru spycar's posts for more opinions grounded in reality. .

 

I do agree that timing matters. We stepped up the drill for dd as work to get her up to speed at the end of 4th grade. Not having the facts down cold was affecting her ability to work with factions, among other things. She already had the concepts down.

 

Even with ds, the drill was started after going through all of RS A, B, C and most of D and was just used as reinforcement. Now, the drill (via Kumon) is done alongside LOF.

 

Drill without conceptual explanations/understanding will not be able to be applied.

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I don't believe in making a child memorize math facts unless they truly know and have constructed the number in their own mind. Generally, if they have enough hands-on experience with the number/fact/concept, then it will be internalized, and drill is a non-issue. But after doing this a whole bunch, a little bit of practice in a fun way (like timez attack) is okay with me. My DS6 is also doing Xtramath.com. Both are free.

Do you have square tiles? Here's a picture on my blog from a lesson on square roots last year, but you can also see one of the many ways we built multiplication over and over again.

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I love this twice a night shower thing. (Sarcasm)

 

I sat with her today, trying again; darling was in the room watching football. We tried two new facts via Math Mammoth style. Checked again an hour later..it was as if we'd never done it.

 

So then I wrote a problem out in PEMDAS style and called him over. I said, "Okay, look at this problem" It had something like say 9 mixed mathematical sorting and steps, including all functions.

 

"Do you know the answer?"

 

"Yes."

 

So I sat and worked it out in pencil myself to be sure of the answer.

 

I took away the paper with the answer and called her over.

 

"Hey, cmere..I want to see if you can do this."

 

She looks at it, probably fifteen seconds go by, no pencil work and then looks at me and produces the answer correctly. She'll do this kind of thing consistently and without error.

 

Darling is over in the corner, his eyes widened just a bit.

 

"So, can you try one more time, tell me what 6 x 8 is?"

 

"Hmm, fifty?"

 

AGH>:willy_nilly:

 

Sometimes I'd like to believe she's pulling my leg; but I know she's not.

 

Is there a possibility there's some name for this?

 

Jen, there are a ton of manipulative type things at the school. There's a math teacher there too, if I can corner him for just a minute, I'm going to ask him what he thinks is going on; I am really stumped with this one.

 

It's like she can do it in her head, but she can't drill or verbal small single digit multiplication. There is something stuck there on certain number families.

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Honestly I couldn't memorize the facts at that age. If you asked me 6x8 I'd do 6x2 to get 12 and then do 12x4 = 40+8 = 48. Even in pre-algebra I was still (except more rapidly) using similar strategies because I didn't have them memorized. Finally did get most of them through lots of practice using them but if I'd had to stop and memorize them before moving forward I don't think I'd have ever started moving again. I did quite well in the rest of math BTW :P

 

Can she *use* similar strategies to figure them out without actively having them memorized? If so, I really wouldn't worry about it at her age, but just keep computing by hand until she's computed it so many times that she remembers it. It seems that what she's doing is developing the habit of guessing nearby and hoping she's correct, which you REALLY don't want to do -- a slightly slower response time with some computation is better than a guess which may or may not be correct.

 

First facts, then speed with facts. Same way with music -- if you're learning a tricky fingering, you don't rush through it and hope that your teacher doesn't notice your mistakes -- you do it slowly and correctly and then pick up the speed.

 

You might also try timez attack ...

Edited by kiana
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My daughter struggled mightily with her confidence in math this year, really questioning her skills, because she was initially grouped into the avg. math track. She knew she could do more and wanted to do more but was frustrated by the pace and scope of group work. If no one else thought she was capable, was she? Or was it all in her head? It was to the point where she was getting tension headaches every afternoon at math time and coming home in tears. When she finally got bumped up last week, voila, no more headaches.

 

I also think speed drills really help kiddos who know the strategy/concept but rush through computation. It certainly cut down on DD's careless mistakes. I found a number bonds/fact families app for iPad and started using it midway through SM1B. It doesn't take much for that to pay off. Only then did we start regular iPad flashcard apps.

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I love this twice a night shower thing. (Sarcasm)

 

I sat with her today, trying again; darling was in the room watching football. We tried two new facts via Math Mammoth style. Checked again an hour later..it was as if we'd never done it.

 

So then I wrote a problem out in PEMDAS style and called him over. I said, "Okay, look at this problem" It had something like say 9 mixed mathematical sorting and steps, including all functions.

 

"Do you know the answer?"

 

"Yes."

 

So I sat and worked it out in pencil myself to be sure of the answer.

 

I took away the paper with the answer and called her over.

 

"Hey, cmere..I want to see if you can do this."

 

She looks at it, probably fifteen seconds go by, no pencil work and then looks at me and produces the answer correctly. She'll do this kind of thing consistently and without error.

 

Darling is over in the corner, his eyes widened just a bit.

 

"So, can you try one more time, tell me what 6 x 8 is?"

 

"Hmm, fifty?"

 

AGH>:willy_nilly:

 

Sometimes I'd like to believe she's pulling my leg; but I know she's not.

 

Is there a possibility there's some name for this?

 

Jen, there are a ton of manipulative type things at the school. There's a math teacher there too, if I can corner him for just a minute, I'm going to ask him what he thinks is going on; I am really stumped with this one.

 

It's like she can do it in her head, but she can't drill or verbal small single digit multiplication. There is something stuck there on certain number families.

 

Hmmmm.... If your husband had asked her "How many legs do six cats have?" Would that have changed her response?'

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Nope, that didn't work Jen, it turned into finger work that way, that was worth a shot though.

 

I was reading another thread about color and learning to write words. Long story short, I have an odd mix of senses (in a medical sense, called synesthesia)...so does my oldest daughter. I was reading that thread about color and learning words, and wondered to myself...huh..I wonder if this could apply to math also?

 

Innocco had brought up the point about dyscalcula-and I looked up several graphs on it...the area of the brain she carries a cyst in has developed in that very spot. Could they be related? I don't know. Her surgeon said that he did not expect for her to express any learning disabilities at all...she should develop completely normal-but sometimes I wonder.

 

This very recent film (the white is the left side) is the cyst, and it does lie right in that area for dyscalcula problems. So again, I don't know, but it does make me wonder.

 

I went and got her a small portable white board with colorful markers and an eraser pad and that kid sat and played with that two hours straight writing math problems on it. So that's the good news.

 

After sometime went by, I asked her if she thought any particular color or feeling "felt" like it went with any particular number. She says the number 6 looks best in blue and 8 looks best in green, 9 looks best in orange, and 7 looks best in purple. Hmm. Right smack off the top in that order, and those are the four she has been stuck on.

 

So we goofed off for sometime trying multiplication on the with the white board and the numbers "favorite" colors. Got home, a few hours later I drilled her again.

 

No change. Still a blank spot for her. But it was an interesting try anyway.

 

IMG_0130.jpg

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I regard facts memorization as a separate class from math. That way math is not one big huge evil mass, but one little and one big class. And we don't have to sully one with the other. They are just both things that kids need to know at some point.

 

Also, I chose not to hold back DD until she had her math facts mastered. I just had her work on them in parallel with math itself, continuously. She was the kind of kid who would memorize them and then forget them anyway, so continuous review via Quartermile Math was a requirement well into middle school. It worked out fine. She is now in Honors Algebra II as a Sophomore in her pretty tough Catholic high school. She doesn't hate math as much as she used to, because she is actually pretty good at it.

 

Keep plugging away at it! We dabbled in a discalculus diagnosis as well. Nope. It was just time and determination that fixed it. And Saxon.

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Thanks Carol, this has caused me some mama grief the last few weeks; I'm the worrying sort of mom...I'm hard-wired that way.

 

All I know to do honestly with this kid?

 

Get up everyday and show up for work and do my job.

 

That's all I'm really sure of with this kid.

 

We are in a really precious zone right now that I can even be doing this with her. I don't take a second of it for granted. It's not always going to be this way.

 

I can really feel the clock ticking.

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How could you not worry with a film like that? :(

 

At the risk of sounding like an "unschooler", I would maybe think about holding off on the memorization on math facts right now, because she will probably be able to learn them all quite quickly when she is older and wants to.

 

For right now, going back to fingers is fine, as is doing everything with manipulatives for a bit longer. You could keep progressing with conceptual understanding, and the higher order things she is fully capable of doing, and hopefully some of the facts will stick along the way.

 

At the risk of agreeing with the annoying mom at your daughter's school who prompted this whole thread, :tongue_smilie: ensuring that your daughter likes math and views herself as somebody who is good at math, is probably key at this point.

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Ya, it's a completely valid possibility I need to :chillpill: - lol....

 

It is just baffling that she can do so much but there is this one little bingo block of facts. It's just the higher end of the 6-12 tables, from the 6th multiplier and up. It's so weird.

 

We have to head out today for martial arts and history on site, I have a hours break in between classes, so I'll be prowling around the resource room looking at manipulative s to use. They have all sorts of stuff there, tanagrams, rods..just about everything you can think of.

 

Maybe I should just skip this part and move onto geometry and some more spatial work.

 

You watch, the second I give up, she'll nail it. Life's like that, huh? :)

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I had a chance to check in with her consultant today. We are putting the fact drill on pause and going after geometry for a break.

 

I have "Van Hiele" tiles, shape boards, counting rods, balance beams, click rods- just a laundry basket full of manipulatives to work with for a while.

 

Bill, if you happen to catch this post, have you ever heard of this?

 

"Wiring the Brain for Mathmatics" http://wtbmath.com/

 

Her consultant was very interested in the information about the pressure points in her actual physical makeup (brain wise) and has attended the seminars and has seen this in practice. She is doing some communication work for me and trying to get some more information for me on how this works.

 

Robert M. Berkman is a figure-head in this area, and it basically deals with what mathmatical process happens on/in what side of the brain....and "if" there are challenges...how to change or use different strategies to overcome the neuropathways that are weak or struggling or need more developed practice.

 

It's actual neuroscience and not heeby jeeby feathers invisible theoretical stuff. Interesting.

Edited by one*mom
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  • 2 weeks later...

When I began my homeschooling journey I was a total math drill advocate. I have two daughters. One is definitely left brain dominant (the more drill side, right?) and the other is right brain dominant (she as the Einstein profile, which is the one they believe Einstein has, and she is right dominant in everything.) My eldest is VERY mathy, and was ready for Algebra 1 at 11 even though she hated arithmetic with a passion. My middle dd was ready at 12, so that busts myths about girls and math right there. fyi, my girls were homeschooled for the part I'm going to discuss re: rote vs not rote.

 

Drill was a huge, huge flop here, but both girls have their math facts down cold now. They learned it by doing lots and lots of math, and they learned math very differently from each other. My eldest hated math with a passion until she started Algebra 1, whereupon she began a gradual swtich to enjoying math most of the time (at the moment she's planning to major in math in college/university; she's a Junior).

 

I have seen a totally different clip that was recommending all girls & all boys math classes and showing how boys & girls go at math differently. It had nothing whatsoever to do with drill, however. I think it had merit, but then I learned math a lot more like most boys learn it, and would have been held back if I had to learn it socially in groups unless I had been with a group of girls equally as quick at Algebra (which I could learn just by reding a book.)

 

On the other hand, young children often do learn well by rote, but it depends on your child. My girls were done with the rote stage sooner than WTM suggests, however.

 

My conclusion, which is based on much more than I've touched on here, is that there is no one way to teach math that works for everyone. An excellent start to figuring out the learning style of your child is through The Dominance Profile by Carla Hannaford. She does caution you that these profiles (there are many, not just 2-4) are how children learn new things or when they are under stress. They are the ONLY thing I have ever read that truly helped me find out how my children learn, and I've read a number of recommendations that show up regularly on the forums.

 

fwiw, I have one who did 3 years of Saxon (she tried SM and hated it), another who started with Saxon but went on to do MUS & SM together instead, but who really didn't have a big breakthrough in parts of arithmetic until she did Russian Math after SM 6 (because it taught her the lingusitic aspects of math, etc) and another who did some MUS, lots of SM, a bit of MEP and who is now doing Russian Math. My eldest has also worked out of at least 5 Algebra 1 books (you'd have to meet her to undestand why, and she did do Algebra 1 twice, which I strongly recommend. My middle one has done it once at home, and will be doing it again in ps next semester.)

Edited by Karin
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I had a chance to check in with her consultant today. We are putting the fact drill on pause and going after geometry for a break.

 

I have "Van Hiele" tiles, shape boards, counting rods, balance beams, click rods- just a laundry basket full of manipulatives to work with for a while.

 

Bill, if you happen to catch this post, have you ever heard of this?

 

"Wiring the Brain for Mathmatics" http://wtbmath.com/

 

Her consultant was very interested in the information about the pressure points in her actual physical makeup (brain wise) and has attended the seminars and has seen this in practice. She is doing some communication work for me and trying to get some more information for me on how this works.

 

Robert M. Berkman is a figure-head in this area, and it basically deals with what mathmatical process happens on/in what side of the brain....and "if" there are challenges...how to change or use different strategies to overcome the neuropathways that are weak or struggling or need more developed practice.

 

It's actual neuroscience and not heeby jeeby feathers invisible theoretical stuff. Interesting.

 

I have no experience with "Wiring the Brain for Mathematics." Sorry. I do think the brain can be wired for mathematics, and that "drill" is not the way to do it.

 

Not to say we don't work on our multiplication tables around here, but it is not the way to build a mind.

 

Bill

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I love this twice a night shower thing. (Sarcasm)

 

I sat with her today, trying again; darling was in the room watching football. We tried two new facts via Math Mammoth style. Checked again an hour later..it was as if we'd never done it.

 

So then I wrote a problem out in PEMDAS style and called him over. I said, "Okay, look at this problem" It had something like say 9 mixed mathematical sorting and steps, including all functions.

 

"Do you know the answer?"

 

"Yes."

 

So I sat and worked it out in pencil myself to be sure of the answer.

 

I took away the paper with the answer and called her over.

 

"Hey, cmere..I want to see if you can do this."

 

She looks at it, probably fifteen seconds go by, no pencil work and then looks at me and produces the answer correctly. She'll do this kind of thing consistently and without error.

 

Darling is over in the corner, his eyes widened just a bit.

 

"So, can you try one more time, tell me what 6 x 8 is?"

 

"Hmm, fifty?"

 

AGH>:willy_nilly:

 

Sometimes I'd like to believe she's pulling my leg; but I know she's not.

 

Is there a possibility there's some name for this?

 

Jen, there are a ton of manipulative type things at the school. There's a math teacher there too, if I can corner him for just a minute, I'm going to ask him what he thinks is going on; I am really stumped with this one.

 

It's like she can do it in her head, but she can't drill or verbal small single digit multiplication. There is something stuck there on certain number families.

 

Dd does that. It's like she gets the concepts, and can do the problem-solving without consciously thinking about it, but when youa sk her how or try to break it down into steps, she is :confused:. She'll do higher level math without putting pencil to paper, but she'll say she doesn't know what 5+2 is. :glare:

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I believe a Chinese old say. A worker want to be good with what he is doing. He must sharp his tool. So, I believe kids need to memorize their time tables. formula...etc. HOWEVER, they also must know where it came from. Rote memorization is not going to get u too far And the "method" of memorization is a balance of fun, easy and effective.

As far as boys vs Girls. I believe it is a myth, since I was always one of the best in math in my school growing up and have engineer degree

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I learned to love math in the 3rd grade when my old spinster teacher taught us the "old-fashioned" way: rote memorization of the multiplication tables. We played "around the world", and I was the only girl in the class who could beat all the boys because I knew my facts so well.

 

I earned my math degree in 1994. :D

 

 

My not so loving math daughter in 2nd grade also plays "around the world" and beats out all the boys (and girls) every time. :hurray:

My 5yo just loves math because it's math. She thinks it's all a fun game, which it is - for us. :)

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Here's something from page 204 of The Math Instinct by Keith Devlin: “Laboratory studies have shown that when a person is performing arithmetic, the most intense brain activity is in the left parietal lobe, the part of the brain that lies behind the frontal lobe. As it happens, similar studies have shown that the left parietal lobe is also the region that controls the fingers. (it requires a considerable amount of brain power to provide the versatility and coordination of our fingers, far more than any other part s of our bodies. Hence, a large part of the brain is devoted to that task."

One*Mom, does that tie in with your daughter's the brain scan?

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It might- there's obviously stuff going on there on the left side that's abnormal. Some days her eyes "tell" me it's not going to be a good math day...when she's having pressure, one eye expands open, the other doesn't. It's a sure sign of a migraine and a big case of the crabby attitude. We still get it done though.

 

But what's interesting as heck...this week we jumped from manipulative to graphed geometry.

 

She's spooky fast at graphed geometry math. No directions, just looks at it and goes to the questions, answers at 100%.

 

I have no idea how God put this kid together. Really.

 

We raced each other on Khan-she blew me out out of the water.

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Here's something from page 204 of The Math Instinct by Keith Devlin: “Laboratory studies have shown that when a person is performing arithmetic, the most intense brain activity is in the left parietal lobe, the part of the brain that lies behind the frontal lobe. As it happens, similar studies have shown that the left parietal lobe is also the region that controls the fingers. (it requires a considerable amount of brain power to provide the versatility and coordination of our fingers, far more than any other part s of our bodies. Hence, a large part of the brain is devoted to that task."

 

One*Mom, does that tie in with your daughter's the brain scan?

 

This, at least partially, explains the connection between music and mathematics. Hmmm....

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Here's something from page 204 of The Math Instinct by Keith Devlin: “Laboratory studies have shown that when a person is performing arithmetic, the most intense brain activity is in the left parietal lobe, the part of the brain that lies behind the frontal lobe. As it happens, similar studies have shown that the left parietal lobe is also the region that controls the fingers. (it requires a considerable amount of brain power to provide the versatility and coordination of our fingers, far more than any other part s of our bodies. Hence, a large part of the brain is devoted to that task."

 

One*Mom, does that tie in with your daughter's the brain scan?

 

Then something that might help would be piano/keyboard lessons for an extended period of time with someone who knows what they're doing with technique. Typing just doesn't do nearly as much with the fingers. I type & I've studied classical piano, and they aren't even close for what they involve. I don't know if it would help with math or not, but it helps anyway, since 90 percent of the part of your brain devoted to your motor skills is for the muscles in your face & hands.

 

This, at least partially, explains the connection between music and mathematics. Hmmm....

 

I have been doing some reading on active music learning & the brain. The biggest connection that's been proving is the connection between music & reading, especially doing early childhood music & movement, etc. I did find one study on math & the brain, but the only thing they proved hard & fast was a connection between long term, intensive music study & geometry. However, I think there is more to it than that.

 

The first time I was told that my eldest was gifted was when she was very tiny. A replacement chiropractor told me she was because of how well my dd was using her fingers already. It turns out my dd is, particularly in math, although she's not profoundly gifted or jawdoppingly amazing at it.

 

Music is used a lot in therapy, particularly in patients whose speech center has been injured as singing helps them access words. Music is used in other areas (saw the special on that congresswoman who was shot in the head last January). It can also help reverse certain types of dyslexia, and this has been proven. (see The Well Balanced Child & When Listening Comes Alive).

Edited by Karin
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Then something that might help would be piano/keyboard lessons for an extended period of time with someone who knows what they're doing with technique. Typing just doesn't do nearly as much with the fingers. I type & I've studied classical piano, and they aren't even close for what they involve. I don't know if it would help with math or not, but it helps anyway, since 90 percent of the part of your brain devoted to your motor skills is for the muscles in your face & hands.

 

 

 

I have been doing some reading on active music learning & the brain. The biggest connection that's been proving is the connection between music & reading, especially doing early childhood music & movement, etc. I did find one study on math & the brain, but the only thing they proved hard & fast was a connection between long term, intensive music study & geometry. However, I think there is more to it than that.

 

The first time I was told that my eldest was gifted was when she was very tiny. A replacement chiropractor told me she was because of how well my dd was using her fingers already. It turns out my dd is, particularly in math, although she's not profoundly gifted or jawdoppingly amazing at it.

 

Music is used a lot in therapy, particularly in patients whose speech center has been injured as singing helps them access words. Music is used in other areas (saw the special on that congresswoman who was shot in the head last January). It can also help reverse certain types of dyslexia, and this has been proven. (see The Well Balanced Child & When Listening Comes Alive).

 

 

I was referring to learning to play music vs. just listening to it. My oldest son is both a musician & math major. He's always loved and been good at both. Now that I think of it though, he also frequently listens to music (classical) while studying.

 

In any case, a few music lessons never hurt anyone. :001_smile:

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My mother drilled the multiplication tables with me everyday on the way home in 3rd grade. I'd complain, "Mooooommm, do we have to?"

 

To this day, I love math! I am 42, not in therapy (but maybe should be, unrelated to math), have children, no cats (I have a greyhound that often acts like a cat, though), and not a velvet curtain in sight!

 

Myth busted!!

 

:lol: I, too, had to learn my math facts. I always liked math and did well in it. I'm not traumatized, do not require math-related therapy, and I can easily triple or quadruple recipes due to my knowledge of math facts! I don't have any cats or velvet curtains, either!

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It might- there's obviously stuff going on there on the left side that's abnormal. Some days her eyes "tell" me it's not going to be a good math day...when she's having pressure, one eye expands open, the other doesn't. It's a sure sign of a migraine and a big case of the crabby attitude. We still get it done though.

 

But what's interesting as heck...this week we jumped from manipulative to graphed geometry.

 

She's spooky fast at graphed geometry math. No directions, just looks at it and goes to the questions, answers at 100%.

 

I have no idea how God put this kid together. Really.

 

We raced each other on Khan-she blew me out out of the water.

 

 

I think this is an example that supports math curriculums that spiral. Just because a kid hasn't mastered mental recall of 8 x 6 doesn't mean that the child can't do other, more advanced things in math. That's why as a teacher, I like teaching topics in chunks, but also letting a curriculum spiral out so that you are constantly revisiting and expanding on things previously learned.

I'm also pretty impressed by how much advanced geometry is being introduced earlier and earlier into public school curriculum. Houghton Mifflin Third Grade Math Expressions has geometry topics in it like angles in a triangle adding up to 180, that are not introduced in Right Start until Level E. Does anyone know about Singapore?

(That being said, I still like Right Start better than Houghton Mifflin.)

:)

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I don't know how much knowing math facts or doing arithmetic is necessarily related to finger movements. My most math-inclined kid has significant fine motor issues, enough to involve school OT in K. When he was 4, he couldn't write his name or anything else. He held a pencil with a fist grip. But, he knew addition math facts and was adding four-digit numbers at that time (montessori pre-K; his teacher got him some number stamps because he couldn't write). While some people struggle with math facts but are talented with math concepts, ds has always been very good with both. Same kid has significant speech issues and is still getting speech therapy at 8 y.o.

 

I'm more inclined to see a connection between music and math than finger movement and math. The VSL connection to music is described in Silverman's Upside Down Brilliance (p. 38):

 

Brains aren't so simple that we can make a hard & fast rule about that, and my ds is also mathy but had fine motor delay. Still, I find that the more he improves his fine motor skills, the more he improves in school. Piano has helped him for sure, and it's only been 7 months. I have 3 talented musicians in my house, and they aren't all VSL :). In fact, my ds is very auditory/kinesthetic, but if all my piano students could catch on as quickly as he has (& my dd's) my job would be easier in some aspects. Of course, if they all argued with my the way my dc do sometimes, I'd quit teaching piano altogether. Even my middle dd that fit the VSL very well in some areas (I've called her VS for years) is actually more the Einstein profile (she learns new material primarily gestalt/kinesthetically & all her receptive & expressive modalities used to shut down when she was frightened or stressed--she still has some trouble with that). But she thinks in pictures, is very artistic (drew animals in motion when she was in K--perhaps because she's so kinesthetic, but this is the first time I thought of that connection), and has many traits in the VSL list. Actually, for years I've said VS for short, but have thought of her as VS/kinesthetic--she is right brain dominant. My other two are left brain dominant, yet have very different learning styles. But we have to remember that we all use our whole brains :).

 

I think this is an example that supports math curriculums that spiral. Just because a kid hasn't mastered mental recall of 8 x 6 doesn't mean that the child can't do other, more advanced things in math. That's why as a teacher, I like teaching topics in chunks, but also letting a curriculum spiral out so that you are constantly revisiting and expanding on things previously learned.

 

:)

We have not used spiral math programs, though. My middle one used both SM & MUS. I stopped worrying about whether or not she'd memorized her math facts with MUS, though, and let her move when she'd mastered a concept. Something she had to relearn the next year. My eldest didn't need any repetition in math until Algebra & Geometry, but didn't learn her math facts by rote, either.

 

Some kids need the rote before the concepts, and some get the concepts before they memorize the facts. There doesn't have to be one correct way of learning math, nor is there one :D.

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  • 4 months later...

I remember, in 3rd grade or so, getting a real bee in my bonnet and refusing to learn multiplication tables. I couldn't see the point of it, and I do think it turned me from someone who felt reasonably confident in math to someone who was convinced I wasn't good at it. In my case, it was because we were simply handed a list of facts to memorize, without much if any conceptual instruction-or maybe they did the conceptual instruction and my brain was absent that day or something.

 

I've seen the same thing with my DD-she NEEDS the concepts, otherwise she simply doesn't see a purpose for learning it. If she gets the concepts first, and especially the concepts in a challenging way, she'll end up learning the facts incidentally. But it took the time pressure of the World Maths games for me to be 100% sure she actually KNEW her facts-because for some reason, when there was a competition involved, she would be able to answer immediately the same questions that often involve playing mental games and hemming and hawing for a minute or more on a math worksheet.

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I think that it is helpful to think of facts memorization as separate from math. Actually, almost all that kids learn until algebra is really not math--it's arithmetic.

 

Facts memorization is like learning your letters and letter sounds to assist in learning to read. It's the necessary, somewhat boring stuff that happens before you get to the good stuff.

 

Arithmetic is largely like learning to read fluently by sounding out words and practicing and reading easy, not too interesting books.

 

Math (word problems and algebra and all that follows algebra) is like actual fluent reading of delightful, challenging books.

 

If you can hearken back to that 'learning to read' experience with your children while they go through arithmetic, and give them early exposure to actual math via word problems and logic puzzles, while still slogging through arithmetic apace, they may see the light at the end of the tunnel even if they don't care for arithmetic very much. And if they really hate arithmetic, you can tell them that they don't hate math--that they will probably like it because it's so fascinating and such good exercise for your brain--that if they just get through arithmetic they will be able to do math, which is as much more fun than arithmetic as reading a good book is more fun than learning phonics.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I was alerted to this discussion by a colleague, so I thought I would throw in my two cents, since my work is mentioned.

 

Our brains do come "pre-wired" to do a certain amount of mathematics, which includes pre-attentive awareness of number, quantity, as well as the ability to "make sense" of addition, subtraction, ratio and proportion. However, the "formal" mathematics, which includes notation, patterning and concept development must all be "learned."

 

Sure. Things need to be learned. The question is how does one go about promoting that learning?

 

Since you mention commutativity below let's look at that concept. My son when he was about 4.5 was playing around with Cuisenaire Rods one day making all the combinations of (whole) numbers that make 5, when he called be over with great excitement to tell me that 3 and 2 are the same as 2 and 3.

 

With great praise I told him he'd just made a very important mathematical discovery! The Commutative Law of Addition. Then I suggested he try out this discover using other values. He did. The concept was valid.

 

Did I fully expect that the commutative property (and especially the proper nomenclature) would stick forever? I wasn't sure. But it did.

 

Entering kindergarten that year his hand would shoot up anytime such problems cropped up with excited desire to share his knowledge of the Commutative Law.

 

I won't bore you with a discussion of the developmental ways he internalized the Distributive Law when learning multiplication, but from very early on he could break unknown multiples into know multiples and recombine the products invoking the Distributive Law.

 

As you seem to suggest, this sort of Mathematical Reasoning appears to work a different part of the brain than that worked by rote memorization of "math facts" alone. Least I be misunderstood I don't think it is a good idea to neglect any of the brain centers (including those involved with fast recall or memorization) just that the upper cognitive functions be developed as well. And that, as a practical matter, it can be difficult to do the underlying conceptual work that demonstrates how math axioms work if a child already has their "math facts" memorized, as they (and their parents/teachers tend to become "answer oriented."

 

So I'm in favor of using means that open the rationale and logic of mathematics to young children in ways they can easily understand. In this way mathematics becomes a "native language" from the beginning. It is interesting that much of this kind of processing takes place in language centers in the mind.

 

What is most interesting about the neuroscience of numeracy is that there is no specific "math module" in the brain. Rather, there are different regions that work together to do different functions. As was pointed out, certain types of computation which require linguistic memory (for example, multiplication facts) are processed in the basal ganglia, which is where we remember other linguistic relationships, like nursery rhymes and song lyrics.

 

On the other hand, because division has different properties than multiplication (it is not commutative (a÷b ≠ b÷a) and is not "closed," which means that the answer to dividing two whole numbers does not always lead to an answer which is also a whole number), we have to first process division in our frontal lobes to evaluate the relationship between the numbers before choosing a procedure to actually evaluate the answer.

 

Without going off on a tangent of how multiplication and division are alike, I will simply note that for a young person to understand the points you are making above they need to understand the logic of mathematics. A simple (but limited) ability to have multiplication and division "fact" developed to automaticity would not, by themselves, make your points comprehensible to them. Yours is a perfect example of why we need to teach mathematics more deeply, and why we need to develop multiple thinning centers of the mind from the beginning of math exploration in early childhood, rather than treating math as a very limited "facts only" discipline until a child reaches their teenage years.

 

I'm not sure where you stand on this?

 

Bill

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