Most students struggle with math because chances are, their fundamental concepts aren’t clear. This makes the subject either extremely easy or absolutely overwhelming, depending on how quickly your little one understands the basics. In this article, we give you ideas on how to teach your kids Math without the pressure.
How to Teach Math to Kids
For children in kindergarten, learning math begins with something as simple as addition and subtraction. While it isn’t complicated, it certainly can be confusing until you get a hold of it.
This is why you must ensure that your child’s mathematical foundation is strong, right from the start. Irrespective if your child is a future mathematician or not, learning math is a life skill.
Let’s start with a popular concept that originated on our shores, Singapore Math.
What Is Singapore Math
The Singapore Ministry of Math Education created the Singapore Math approach, which is taught in all public schools in the country. A lot of American homeschooling families have chosen this method since it has been shown to be a very successful way to learn arithmetic. It consists of three steps: hands-on math, image models, and abstract mathematical equations.
The foundation of Singapore Arithmetic is built on the notion that mastering problem-solving skills and cultivating a mathematical mindset are essential to excelling in math. Students won’t have anything to draw on while learning increasingly difficult math without a strong foundation.
Teaching Math Concepts Using Singapore Math
The Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) method of teaching Singapore Math aids learners in understanding math by building on prior knowledge.
During the concrete phase, you should urge pupils to solve problems by interacting with actual items.
You can assist pupils in making the connection between their things and the visual depiction during the pictorial step.
You will instruct kids on how to use arithmetic symbols and numbers throughout the abstract phase.
Image from Ministry of Education
However, this does not imply that the skills taught to elementary school children are straightforward. The idea is that it’s important to give pupils as much time as necessary to acquire a topic or skill when teaching it.
In this manner, you avoid advancing to the subsequent notion with the assumption that past skills may always be taught again if required. Instead, teachers can simply review, freeing up more time for instruction.
Is Singapore Math Good?
Pros of using Singapore Math
Singapore math is well-known and practiced by individuals in the public and private school systems as well as by members of the homeschooling community throughout the educational spectrum. The statistics of math development in Singaporean students are employed in the hope of assisting kids in excelling in math. The following are some advantages of Singapore math:
- Instead of mindless memorising of formulas and rules, it helps students make meaningful connections between the concepts and abilities they are learning.
- The topics are thoroughly discussed, with a particular emphasis on topic mastery. There is less repeating of previously taught ideas.
- The textbooks and workbooks used in the programme both have clear images and are simple to read.
- Learning can be accelerated by building on previously taught ideas and abilities without putting in more effort.
Cons of using Singapore Math
While many people enjoy using this math programme, others find the whole approach to be more difficult to put into practice. These are some disadvantages of utilising this curriculum:
- Concept and philosophy are emphasised more so than applied mathematics.
- It might necessitate intensive and continuous teacher preparation.
- Since supplies are consumable, they must be replaced every academic year.
Getting Started In Using Singapore Math
You must first choose the programme that is best for your student. Here, you may compare the various curricula so that you can start deciding which one is ideal for you. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the various curricula before beginning as well.
The next task would be to take the placement test. Remember that the placement test’s main purpose is to guarantee that your pupils begin at the appropriate level. It is not intended to detect any learning difficulties or delays.
For parents and educators who already use or want to utilise the Singapore Mathematics curriculum, there are also active online forums. These exclusive groups are a fantastic platform for exchanging and learning teaching strategies, exhibiting problem-solving techniques, and asking questions.
Parent’s Guide to Using Singapore Math
First, it should be mentioned that Singapore math can be the best option for you if you’re seeking a curriculum that emphasises mastering. The process of learning how to do Math from a logical and conceptual standpoint is more important than the final product.
Consider your family’s needs as well as the needs of the children you will be teaching before selecting a programme. Spend the time now to clarify your goals so that you don’t have to keep switching math programmes down the road.
To determine which curriculum is ideal for your pupils, it is advised that you use the placement examinations for that programme. Keep in mind that the grades correspond to those used in American schools. For instance, Grade 1 is covered by Dimensions Math 1A and 1B. The reading for the first half of the year is 1A. The content for the second half of the year is 1B.
They advise against taking the results of the placement tests as the sole indicator of the curriculum level at which your child should begin. You should also take into account how the students solved the questions and any areas of difficulty. Considering this will also aid in selecting the optimal level and curriculum.
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How To Teach Addition To Kids
So if you’re wondering how to teach addition and subtraction to kindergarten students, we’ve compiled the top 10 easy tricks that you can try to make the subject easy.
1. Countable Manipulatives
Image Source: iStock
A fun way to teach kids in kindergarten about addition is countable manipulatives. While that may sound complicated, it’s actually fairly simple.
Here, students start learning to count on their fingers before moving to other objects like bottles, blocks, paper cutouts, and more.
2. Make It Visual
Children grasp things faster when there is a visual cue associated with them. Kids in preschool or kindergarten can learn addition and subtraction faster if they can see the objects that they need to count.
For instance, giving a child a pile of buttons or pennies will help them visually understand what 10 pennies or buttons look like. So when they count 4+6, they have a visual reference for the same.
Similarly, in the case of subtraction, when the child needs to deduct 3 out of 10, they have a visual reference of setting aside three pennies from a set of 10.
3. Use A Number Line
A number line can help a child immensely once they recognise numbers. A number line looks like a dateline and stretches from 1 – 10 or higher depending on your child’s learning level.
You can make a large poster of this at home for your child as an easy reference point.
The number line benefits the child by removing the need to count out the first number in the sum. So, if a child needs to solve a sum of 5+2, they need to count up two places from five on the number line to reach seven.
Similarly, kids will need to count down to 3, in the case of subtraction when the sum is 5-2.
4. Fact Families
These are essentially groups of addition and subtraction facts that include the same number. It’s a handy trick to teach kids once they are familiar with the concept of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ in math.
In fact families, a child learns 5+1, 5+2, 5+3 and so on. Once the child understands that 5+1 = 6, it’s easier for them to grasp how 5+2 equals 7, since the number 2 is more than the number one. While 5 remains constant, it’s the second number that’s a variable and keeps changing.
Another trick associated with fact families is to include doubles. So adding sums like 5+5 or 8+8. Once the child understands that 5+5 equals 10, then 5+4 would equal 9, since the child would then deduct a number from the total sum of 10.
The process will strengthen their mental math ability, but it will only come with lots of practice.
5. Sorting Games
Games are always a fun way to teach kids, sometimes without them even realising it. And sorting games are a great way to get kids acquainted and comfortable with numbers.
Ask your child to create a pile of toys and blocks each. Then ask them to count the number of objects in each pile. You can then ask them to add the two numbers together.
Repeat the same for subtraction where your child needs to subtract the bigger pile from the smaller pile to get the answer.
6. Dice Games
Another fun way to teach kids about addition and subtraction problems is by using two rolling dice.
Ask them to roll the two dice and then find the sum of the total rolled.
For instance, once your child rolled a dice that stopped at 5 and the next time they rolled a dice that stopped at 3. You can then write down the sum of the number as 8. When they get the maximum correct answers, they win.
Similarly, in the case of subtraction, both you and your child can roll the dice to 6 and 6, so subtracting both numbers would give you 0.
Image Source: iStock
7. Play With Characters
If you’re still wondering about how to teach addition and subtraction to kindergarten students, try it with characters. Much like games, stories are a great way to explain concepts to children.
You can tell them a story that goes: there were 2 cats playing in the backyard. One cat picked up 4 apples and the second cat picked up five apples. How many apples did both cats bring home?
8. Play On The Staircase
This is a fun and easy method to teach kids about addition and subtraction. Moreover, it adds a touch of physicality as well, so the child does get a bit of exercise too.
You can draw numbers from 1-20 depending on your child’s learning level and the number of stairs available with each number represented by a stair.
Then you ask the child to stand on a specific number. So, if they are standing on 5 and you ask them to add 3, they need to move to up 8 on the staircase. Similarly, if they are standing on 7 and they need to subtract five from it, then need to walk down to 2.
Kids will enjoy this method as much as you would while teaching them.
9. Snack Time = Math Time
Image Source: Pexels
Learning math is a long process and that shouldn’t stop outside the classroom or during study hours. Incorporate math in simple things you do, especially with food. Apart from being an extremely visual process, it will also help children grasp the concept of addition and subtraction better.
For instance, if you are serving kids grapes or cookies during snack time, ask them to count the number of grapes or cookies on the plate. You can also make it an addition to subtraction game by asking two kids to add the total number of grapes in their respective plates.
With subtraction, you can ask one child to share their 2 cookies with another child. Then ask them to subtract that many cookies from their plate. Do the same thing with the other child so the first kid can have their cookies back.
10. Play The Math Song
Here’s how to teach addition and subtraction to kindergarten students without taking too much effort: we know that children like to sing along with popular songs so why not use it to teach them math?
You can stream plenty of songs about addition and subtraction online and it will help teach them the concepts.
In order to engage your child even further, you can come up with chants or songs using familiar tunes.
Image Source: Shutterstock
While math will only get more difficult as children move to higher classes, a strong base will help them cope faster with the same. Addition and subtraction will also prepare for the better once multiplication and division have been introduced in their curriculum.
So, here are our top tricks on how to teach addition and subtraction to kindergarten students. Have fun with numbers and always approach learning with a positive attitude.
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