Delhi Math Club
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7 simple tips to problem solving in math

While conducting a workshop with young children (5 to 8yrs), I asked, “Alright, if there are a total of 10 candies between you and your best friend, how many candies could you have?” I expected them to think of combinations of 10. “They would definitely stumble upon the realisation that there were several possibilities”- I thought to myself. (5 to 8 yrs)

But, no! I was amused to find that almost everyone seemed sure that there was just one possibility.

Each of them had to have exactly 5 candies! Every other possibility seemed too unfair and received a prompt mass rejection!

What seems logical and instinctive to us, isn’t the always the way children think.

So next time, instead of being bewildered with your child’s response, listen to his unique perspective. That would guide you to tailor your inputs to best suit his learning needs.

Support your child to do better with Math by following these simple tips

If you are a parent wanting to help your child with Math, here are 7 simple tips to follow.

    1. Try never ever doing Math with your child when you are tired, hungry or angry.
    2. Never do it just after you have noticed a note-book/ review/ test sheet with lots of errors.
    3. When you do it in a stressed state, you pass on your anxiety to your child; thereby complicating and defeating the learning process for her.
    4. Whenever you do Math with your child, ask her chirpily, cheerfully, “Hmm…How did you figure this out? How did you deduce/ conclude that? Why is it so? How did you arrive at this? Can you explain/ show it to me? Can you help me understand this better? Can there be another way to it?”
    5. Instead of asking,”How did your teacher tell you to do this?”; ask,” Based on your understanding, how would you do it?” When she shares, whether right or wrong, you will get invaluable insights into her thinking! And you will be better equipped to help her effectively.
    6. When she makes a mistake, you may want to say, ” Umm, this is surprising/ interesting/ puzzling! Let’s dig deeper into this! Let’s explore… ” And if you are up to it, you can add some drama here….Exclaim,”Hey! Get me the shovel and flashlight! We need to dig deeper and get a better view!”
    7. In a way, mistakes should surprise us, because we didn’t expect a mistake there, right? For if we expected it, we wouldn’t have made it! 😀

And we should be pleasantly surprised, because mistakes in Math don’t cost much; in fact they come with an opportunity: to deepen our understanding, and develop an acuity. Mistakes guide us, lead us from darkness to light.

Have any tips to share with others? Write in the comments box



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