Math Made Easy – Ideas Your Children Will Enjoy

Teaching kids is a task parents must not compromise. Because of this, parents invest in time searching for tips on how to teach their kids. Sadly, teaching kids can be very hard especially if you are teaching them math lessons. But, there are math made easy ideas and techniques your children will enjoy. Below are some of the following.

Make lessons interesting

One of the best ways to make math easy for your children is to ensure that lessons are interesting. Kids are very energetic in everything they do. However, when it comes to lessons especially math, they are quite bored. Therefore, parents need to make sure that they can create interesting lessons. And, the best way is to incorporate books that focus on numbers. In this way, kids will be participating and learning math at the same time.

Learn on devices

Apart from using books in your math lessons, it is also best to make use of your devices. Most children these days make use of devices. Luckily, parents can take this into their advantage by searching for applications that can teach kids math. Not to mention, parents can also create problems that can be solved using devices to allow kids to enjoy learning math.

Show them relevance

To make math easy for kids, parents also need to show them its relevance. And, the best way to do this is by showing kids that math is useful in real life from shopping, cooking, baking and many more. By allowing kids to understand the importance of math, they will likely to be interested in the lessons.

Watch your words

When teaching math to your children, it is imperative for parents to watch the words they are using. This is important since some terminologies can affect how kids understand the lesson. In addition, using hard to understand terminologies can make math problems even harder. So, much as possible, parents need to make use of simple words that kids can understand easily.

Hire math tutors

In case that you have difficulties in searching for math made easy ideas for your kids, it is also ideal to hire math tutors. These tutors are experts in making lessons easier for kids. Other than that, tutors can also provide unique teaching methods just for your kids.

With these simple tips, math can be easier for kids to understand which can help them become knowledgeable and better.

The Reality And Non-Reality Of Mathematics

There’s little doubt that mathematics rules the reality roost when it comes to the laws, principles and relationships within the sciences in general and the physical sciences in particular. Further, mathematics plays a dominant role when it comes to the purely economic aspects of our lives and where would sports be without statistics? However, when it comes down to brass tacks, how much of really real reality is actually reflected in our mathematics?

The Reality of Mathematics.

Mathematics is just a shorthand mental concept that simulates reality, or approximates reality or a possible reality or even an imaginary / impossible ‘reality’. Mathematics is NOT reality itself. You can mathematically manipulate the alleged extra dimensions in String Theory but that doesn’t mean of necessity that these extra dimensions actually exist.

Mathematics is a tool that at first approximation tries to reflect upon the nature of really real reality. Mathematics is not reality itself. Further, our mathematics are structured to reflect our version of reality based on our observations not of necessity what really happens. The perfect example is Quantum Mechanics. For example, we may not know, even cannot know even in principle, exactly where a particle is as well as at the same time where it is going with 100% precision. So we invent a form of probability mathematics like the Schrodinger Equation or the equation that governs the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Those equations are for our edification but they don’t alter the really real reality fact that the particle has actual coordinates and is going from A to B. Probability in Quantum Mechanics, and the mathematical equations associated with it, are just reflections on the limits of the human observer and human instrumentation, not a reflection on Mother Nature’s really real reality. Our Quantum Mechanical equations are imposed approximations to really real reality much like Newton’s equation for gravitational attraction was really only in hindsight an approximation.

There can be multiple models of reality, each based on mathematics, but they can’t all be right. Cosmology is a case in point.

The phrase “but the mathematics works” means absolutely nothing. Just because mathematics predicts the possibility of some kind of structure and substance, or some law, relationship or principle that the Cosmos might have, does not of necessity make it so. A prime example where the mathematics worked but the Cosmos didn’t go along for the ride was the ad-hoc piling on those epicycles upon epicycles in order to explain the motion of the planets. It finally got so unwieldy that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater and a new baby conceived, that being that the Earth was just another planet and not at the center of life, the Universe and everything. Once it was postulated that the Earth went around the Sun, planetary motion fell into place – mathematically into place as well.

Take a more modern example. The mathematics works in String Theory, but to date String Theory remains a theorists’ theoretical dream (accent or emphasis on the word “dream”).

Probability theory is that branch of mathematics that interposes itself between the macro human and human comprehension and abilities and the micro world of quantum mechanics. That has way more to do with the macro than with the micro since the absolutes of the micro aren’t visible in the realm of the macro; they are beyond the realm of the macro to resolve through no fault by the way of human comprehension or abilities.

A prime example is that there is no probability in quantum mechanics, only probability introduced by the limitations of the conscious mind to get down and dirty to the level of detail required to eliminate the concept of probability from quantum mechanics.

Mathematics serves no purpose, useful or otherwise, outside of the context of the human mind (specifically) or outside of the intellectual conscious minds of other sentient species (in general), thus making allowances for E.T. and maybe the terrestrial great apes; whales and dolphins; and perhaps other advanced minds – perhaps elephants as well as some birds.

In the absence of any conscious minds, what use has the Universe for arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, topology, statistics and the multi other branches of mathematics? Now 1 + 1 = 2 might be universally the case and logically true even in the absence of any conscious mind, or before any life form ever came to pass, but so what? That cuts no mustard with the Universe! There was nobody around to conceive of that or to make use of that or to equate the manipulation of numbers as a reflection of universal reality (or even non-reality*). There was no conscious or intellectual mind around to appreciate any mathematical utility or usefulness or beauty or elegance.

Mathematics in fact is not a reflection on or of reality, only that reality as observed or defined once having been filtered through sensory apparatus thus pondered over by the conscious mind. Reality as perceived in the mind is several transitional layers of processing removed from whatever pure external reality there happens to be. There’s even an additional layer if instrumentation is a middleman. So the conscious mind is thus limited in terms of its ability to come to terms with the full scope of really real reality.

Mathematics is the interface between humans and human comprehension, understanding, etc. of the Cosmos at large. Mathematics can tell you in actuality or theoretically the ‘what’ but never the ‘how’ or the ‘why’. For example, there’s Newton’s Law of Gravity, but even he realized that that equation just told you ‘what’, not ‘how’ or ‘why’.

The Non-Reality of Mathematics.

The following examples are some of what I term the non-realities of mathematics.

* Hyper-cubes are a nice abstract concept that mathematics / geometry can incorporate. However, while you might be able to play with real cubes, like dice, hyper-cubes will be forever beyond you.

* Stephen Hawking’s concept of negative time. Since IMHO time is just change and change is just motion, then negative time would have to be negative change and negative motion. That doesn’t make any sense at all. So while Hawking’s negative time might be useful in a mathematical sense, it has no bearing on our reality and can safely be ignored.

* Lots of quantum mechanical equations yielded up infinities so a sleight-of-hand concept called re-normalization was invented to deal with those cases involving infinities. That strikes me as dealing cards from under the table or otherwise known as a inserting a “fudge factor”. Does re-normalization represent really real reality?

* The mathematics of singularities inherent at the moment of the Big Bang or in Black Holes goes down the rabbit hole in that the laws, principles and relationships inherent in the physical sciences that are so otherwise adequately described mathematically now break down when trying to describe singularities and thus so does the accompanying mathematics that are involved as well. So what actually is the really real reality behind singularities?

* Mathematics are perfectly capable of dealing with alleged extra dimensions inherent in String Theory. However, that doesn’t make String Theory a reality, not does it make a half-dozen extra and hidden dimensions a reality.

* Mathematics is perfectly capable of dealing with an inverse cube law that has no correspondence with our physics. Just because a mathematical equation works doesn’t mean that there is a one-on-one correspondence to the real physical world.

* Mathematics are perfectly capable of dealing with zero, one and two dimensions yet these are just mental concepts that can’t actually be constructed and thus have no really real reality.

* Space-Time: Since space is just an immaterial mental concept (that imaginary container that actual physical stuff has to reside in) and since time is also just an immaterial mental concept (our way of coming to terms with change which is just motion – which is also an immaterial mental concept since motion itself isn’t composed of anything physical), then space-time has to be an immaterial mental concept. Neither space nor time nor space-time is actually composed of any material substance and the trilogy has no material 3-D structure. However, the mathematics involving the concept of space-time are a useful tool in describing reality, but not actually really real reality itself.

Failing in Math? Part II

When young children show abnormal behaviour, it is safe to say that professional consultation is required. One can use the Clancy Behavior Scale or ADHD test to assess their children for early detection.

Sometimes, however it could simply be a false alarm. I encountered a couple cases in the past. I spoke to a couple of parents that told me that their two children, aged seven and nine, had learning disorders and needed professional consultants. After teaching them math for a few years, I was able to better understand the situation. They showed major progress, maintaining above average marks and having usual interactive response with others. I even a normal relationship between the children and their parents. I came to the conclusion that immigrant kids are very easily mistaken to have learning disorders by the school due to cultural and language barriers in the classroom. These kids simply need more love and attention.

The family life is crucial as well: constant quarrelling in the household between parents may lead to emotional instability in children. This, in turn, may stall their learning progress. Parents have obligations to offer a loving and disciplined environment at home such that their kids are ready to learn. When kids are ready to learn but don’t learn well, it is highly probable that the downfall may be due to the teaching quality of the teachers.

I was touched by a university professor when he apologized to the students that failed in his class. 40% of the students in the class had previously failed on a midterm exam. He apologized to them and said that his explanations and teaching skills were not good enough. Kids are like blank sheets of paper waiting on the quality inputs and motivation from the teachers. Often, I tell parents, in front of their kids, that if the marks in school do not improve, we are the ones to blame. The only condition is if they fully cooperate with us.

Across Canada, one in ten students study in a private school, but in Quebec the ratio jumps to 2.9:10, which is almost tripled the average. This large difference shows that parents really trust private school teachers much more than public school ones. I have shown appreciation and acknowledgement to many good teachers when some students showed us some quality class lectures and homework. Unfortunately, there are always those teachers that can’t answer or are unable to answer more difficult questions. Either they tell the students that they will get back to them at a later date and then totally forget about it or they tell the students that they should be able to solve the questions since they are so easy, thus disguising his/her incapability.

Every kid needs and deserves to be enlightened by parents, teachers, a good quotation, a movie or a book. The very famous inventor Thomas Edison is a very good example. In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him ‘addled’. This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me.” Anyone who has the key to turn their motivation on has already taken their first step towards success.

Failing in Math? Part I

In an article previously written this year, I talked about learning difficulties faced by students today. The reformation of the school curriculum as well as the quality of teaching is two major reasons leading to unmotivated students in math. These, however, are extrinsic, incontrollable factors. Consequently, I would like to stress more on the intrinsic factors such that parents as well as students can do something to improve their math.

1. Evaluation – Math Scare Index: (check off from 1 to 5 where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree)

1. I worry that my report card in math is lower than the class average
2. I don’t like my math class in school.
3. I don’t know how to ask math questions in school.
4. I think that I am illiterate in math.
5. I need someone to tutor me and to give me extra help.
6. I worry that I will lose my competitive edge in my career due to my lack of math skills.
7. Math is only one kind of intelligence. Even though I am not good at it, I still have other kinds of intelligence.
8. I am not good with numbers.
9. Word problems scare and trouble me all the time.
10. I don’t know how to apply math in my daily life.

Add your total score.
If you have: 10 – 18: You are very confident and are at the top of your math class.
19 – 26: You can easily catch up to be at the top of the class.
27 – 34: You are not alone. Most students are like you. Work a little harder and you will pass.
35 – 42: You are not confident enough in math and you need extra help.
43 – 50: You must find a professional consultant and get immediate assistance.

2. After doing the evaluation to find out where your child ranks in terms of math, you must find out specifically what kind of problems they face. Below are several questions frequently asked by parents.

a. How come my kids always get good marks on their homework but fail on their tests? To answer this problem, we have to find out whether they really understand the concept of homework exercises. When doing their homework many kids like to ask for the answer without wanting to understand how to get to it. Some kids need tutors just to help them with their homework, but critical thinking is much more important and valuable than getting the right answer.

b. Does it help to buy exercise books for my child?
Doing many exercises may help sometimes, but often kids just become robots, doing the same repetitive things without thinking. Some kids are even worse and memorize the answer key. Exercise books are mainly for more advanced students that want to do more challenging problems.

c. How do I know if my child really understands the concept or simply pretends to understand?
Whenever teachers ask students whether they understand or not, most respond with a ‘yes’. However, later on when teacher give a similar exercise using the same concept, most students cannot answer. In a typical classroom setting, each teacher is assigned to teach so many students with differing IQ levels and understanding. It is therefore almost impossible for a teacher to diagnose the specific problems of every student. Luckily, many parents accompany their elementary kids with their homework to find out where the problem is precisely. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for secondary kids.

d. My kid has been failing math at a young age. What can I do?
Failure is part of life’s experiences. Without experiencing failure, success is hard to come by. In this article (I), I offer an opportunity for parents to examine and to assess the problems faced by their kids. I will speak about ways for solving these problems in the next article.

The One Thing You’re Doing That Could Hold Your Child Back in Math

Have you ever had math anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. Many people claim to suffer from math anxiety – and expressing it can actually affect their kids.

Parents’ beliefs are contagious

Studies have shown that parents who express anxiety while helping their children with math reduce their children’s performance in first and second grades. When mothers informed their daughters that they were not good at math, the daughters’ work in the subject declined.

It’s not just the parents

Female teachers’ math anxiety has been shown to negatively affects girls’ math achievement. In one study, the more anxious the female elementary school teachers were, the more likely the girls in their classes became infected with the stereotype that girls were not good at math – and the girls’ math performance was impacted in a measurable way. The boys in their classes were unaffected.

Why is math anxiety a problem?

Math anxiety affects math performance. Math anxiety can have a disruptive effect on working memory, which is needed to attack math problems. When a child is preoccupied with fearful and apprehensive thoughts, their brain is not fully focused on the challenging task at hand, putting them at a distinct disadvantage that affects their learning. This is particularly common when children are given timed tests.

Higher level math will be a lot more important to the next generation. American students, at a minimum, generally have to take 10 years of math classes to achieve a high school diploma – the least amount of education needed to get even an unskilled job in today’s job market. Lack of confidence in math leads students to avoid certain careers because completion of high level math is needed for entry. This doesn’t only apply to the obvious scientific occupations, many college business programs actually require two semesters of calculus.

As time goes on, STEM careers will become a much larger part of the economy. The working world will be transformed in radical ways in short periods of time. For example, driverless cars could make taxi drivers and truck drivers obsolete within ten years. Uber and similar companies are already making full time taxi driving a thing of the past. Today’s kids will need a solid foundation in the STEM subjects to prepare them for a job market we can’t even imagine today.

So how can parents help their children learn math more easily?

If you struggled with math or have had anxiety, refrain from expressing it to your child. Talk positively about how math (even simple computations) help you in your daily life today. Praise all efforts and perseverance with their homework, even when they don’t arrive at the right answer at times. If you’re a mother who has a daughter, let her know you are confident in her ability to achieve in math.

Parents can foster positive attitudes about math by stressing that math is a just a subject learned by practice and persistence. There is no such thing as a “math person” and anyone can learn math. Making mistakes is just a healthy part of that process – not proof of any lack of ability or intelligence. In fact, making mistakes in math has been shown on MRI scans to make a person’s brain grow. There is no race or gender that has any special advantage when doing math, those stereotypes are totally wrong.

Parents can help their kids learn math by encouraging them to play math enrichment games and do puzzles to develop number sense. Visuals like board games are especially helpful for developing a child’s understanding of math concepts. Spatial skills – the comprehension and recall of the spatial relations between objects – are closely related to math skills. Studies have shown that kids benefitted immediately after playing a number line game similar to Snakes and Ladders and a visual model of the positive and negative number line helped kids intuitively understand how negative numbers work. The more kids play games and have fun with numbers, the less math anxiety and the more confidence they will have exploring math.