Understanding math can be especially intimidating and challenging when it is presented as an assortment of abstract algorithms to memorize. But if you first provide large amounts of time for the learner to explore the properties of math with concrete objects, they can discover first hand the innate patterns that truly make learning math “child’s play”.
Here are some foundational concepts for Learning Home’s math builders labs:
- Math is the study of numbers and all we do with numbers is count.
- The highest number we count to is “9”.
- Places tell us what kind. Numbers tell us how many.
- Before we can count, the numbers must be the same.
- We count the big numbers first.
- Making rectangles makes counting easy.
- Numbers are made of other numbers.
- All the other numbers want to be 10.
- Practice = Play with blocks (practice, practice, practice).
- The more senses you use, the easier it is to learn and the more you remember.
(excerpted from http://www.crewtonramoneshouseofmath.com/concepts)
Hands on math is the approach used in our math builders labs. We start with manipulatives, then use pictorial representations, and finally note our discoveries with numerals and equations. I love that this approach works especially well with small groups of different ages.