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Wiring the Brain for Mathematics: Neuroscience & Numeracy

Guest BLtMathematics

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Guest BLtMathematics



I was alerted to this website by a colleague who happened to read some of the posts inquiring about neuroscience and numeracy. I am a mathematics educator who has worked in private and public schools in the NYC area for the past 30 years, working with students from pre-kindergarten through college. My work has been published in several education related journals, including "Teaching Children Mathematics," and "Mathematics in the Middle School," and I have presented at national and international educational conferences. I am currently the director of Better Living Through Mathematics which provides state-of-the-art professional development, curriculum design and mathematics related programs for teachers, children and families. You can reach me at r@bltm.com . You can also read my blog about current issues in mathematics education at www.bltm.com/blog


I also have several workshops that I present around the country, including "Wiring the Brain for Mathematics: Neuroscience & Numeracy," "Expand Your Mathematics Toolbox with Differentiated Instruction," "The Institute for Conceptual Mathematics (ICMath)" and "Math Anxiety: Effort - Nerves - Performance."


What questions do you have about pre-K - 12 mathematics?

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I remember your website, but I don't remember who alerted me to it.


It came up during a discussion when my daughter was having some medical issues. Her math at the time was completely "blank" in rote memorization, she could not "hold" math facts no matter how much drill I put into it.


We ended up backing off, working with some tiles, boards, manipulatives and such, and it turned out in a month or so that this kid was *very* good and very natural in geometry. She was using ideas from lower maths in the geometry that she couldn't verbally process or even write, but it WAS working in her brain.


So today, she focuses more on geometry than drill and loves loves loves it.


The folks here were helping me to explore ideas to try to locate where the "hole" in her learning was coming from. The medical issue is a large mass (acracnoid cyst, benign) where it is commonly assumed the math processes happen (regionally) in the brain.


Long story short, we landed on your site and were discussing how public schools now include this estimation vs. exact - I think that's how you found you.


I think your work with The Friends in Manhattan, as well as the other associated projects during 2000-2007 is very interesting.


My daughter is working in pre-algerbra now (age 9) - but her geometry skills are farther ahead sequentially. I don't understand how this is working, it's a mystery to me.


Any thoughts?


PS, after spotting the post in the afterschooling board, now I remember who told me about your workshops, and that was my daughters counselor who has actually met you in person at a workshop. She was recommending I read about you and apply some of the techniques if possible.


That's when we hit the Van Hiele tiles and the geometry started, that was back in November. You would not believe what she's been able to do in four months in that area.


But still, the rote recall of math facts - there still not there verbally or on paper..I have no idea what to do.

Edited by one*mom
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