(Free printables below!)
Success in higher level maths requires mastery of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division concepts. The answers need to come quickly, without requiring mental effort to work them out, otherwise the more difficult problem solving is slowed considerably and errors result. Working through simple problems over and over cements the answers in children’s heads and helps them stay in long-term memory. Lets face it though, page after page of the same kind of problems in a maths textbook can be… well.. boring!
My solution is to gather a range of attractive materials and allow the children to complete problems repeatedly, but in a way that means they hardly notice it is the same skill over and over.
These are our ‘solving for the unknown’ trays and like the addition trays, the cards are in sets. This cards all have the same end total, for example 0+_=3, 1+_=3, 2+_=3 and 3+_=3. Containers of the same number as the answers are filled with 2 distinctly different types of materials to illustrate the problem shown on the cards. The children can start with the smaller numbers and work on them until they no longer need manipulatives and can compute them almost instantly before moving on to the larger numbers.
The materials are attractive and any cards they can already do they simply tell me the answer to and set aside so that they are not wasting time practising combinations they already know.
Not all learners love hands-on activities. My 7 year old book work lover is happily working through page after page of these same problems in her maths text. She finds manipulatives frustrating and thinks that they slow her down. When she meets a problem that she cannot do in her head or on paper, she pulls out the relevant materials and works it through until she can move on – in her book. Children have different learning styles and maths is one subject that can easily be adapted to suit.
Free printable problem cards for solving for the unknown:
Filed under: Homeschooling, Workjobs & Montessori activities for highchair, mat or table time(mathematics, language, practical life & others) | Tagged: home-made Montessori, homeschooling with toddlers, learning styles, mathematics, solving for the unknown |