Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2017

How Children Can Learn Mathematics From Daily Lives

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May 24, 2017

How Children Can Learn Mathematics From Daily Lives

Mathematics has always been a difficult and scary subject for children. If we look back to our student days, we will recall that we found mathematics difficult to learn, boring and even of little use. Let’s see why!

Research has shown that most of the children have the ability to learn and be proficient in it. If approached correctly, mathematical concepts and ideas can be made graspable even before starting with any formal primary schooling.
How can operating with numbers be a fun activity and an entertaining experience and can be learnt from daily lives?
Professor Robert H. Lewis writes, ‘Mathematics is not about answers, it’s about processes’. If we understand how Mathematics can be used in our day to day lives, we would be able to grasp it. We can apply mathematics to everyday applications for ease of understanding. Whether it is about organising competitions, number games or exciting puzzles, Mathematics is everywhere!

Children as young as age one can enjoy learning numbers through fun educational games. Motivating, innovating and creating a fun and practical context for learning is one of the best ways to increase the interest of a student in a course. Applying these tactics to mathematics, which is considered by many as boring or difficult, allows the young ones to learn in a fun and dynamic manner, while developing skills and competencies that are a part of academic goals.

There are many everyday situations that demand the knowledge of mathematics. Applying mathematics in the context of everyday activities helps students understand concepts that are otherwise difficult to assimilate and understand. Every day, students should be made to solve numerical problems, not necessarily academic in nature. The idea is to encourage the use of mathematical thinking without the students perceiving it as an academic activity. For example –

  • Buying daily items- Ask your child to look for a product with the lowest price to review the concepts of major and minor. You can even be specific here and tell them to purchase say two packets of biscuits for each member of the family. Here, the concept of multiplication can be made clear to him.
  • Money- Ask the children to read the amount on the bill, take out the total amount to be paid, calculate the change to be taken.
  • Kitchen- While preparing a recipe, children can help in the task of measuring or weighing ingredients. This can help them to review and understand fractions. A good idea is to allow children to cut slices of a pie, cake or pizza. This would help them comprehend things better without the fear of failure.
  • Playing- Children, though unconsciously, already apply their number skills in many games. Understanding the concept of mathematics is possible if learning is integrated in a fun and motivating environment. In many games, without even realizing, children are already training their brains to deal with numbers. Monopoly, snakes and ladders and a lot of other games that require the use of a dice are a perfect opportunity to review the concepts of addition, subtraction along with mental calculations. Other games like sudoku, magic tricks, tambola also contribute to learning mathematics in a fun way. Moreover, some puzzles, coupled with different ways to construct geometric figures, help students understand the practical applications of geometric concepts.

Today, the use of new technologies is emerging as one of the most effective ways to motivate maths learning. On the web, we can find many games for children of all ages to play and learn mathematics in a technological environment. Games with calculators, mathematical puzzles and challenges are some activities that can be easily found on the web. These games serve the purpose of learning and are engaging and interesting for children.

Brain games are another way to raise the motivation level of children by making them independent and confident of finding solutions to problems. Such games help in developing the ability to concentrate and to think critically. For example, a number chain game can be very helpful in sharpening the memory of a child. Such games are a good exercise for enhancing the overall personality of a child. The more the application of the brain, the more the child becomes active and smart to face difficult and complicated challenges. And this is what is exactly required for Mathematics!

Yuvraj Krishan Sharma, is the co-founder of KOMPANIONS (a Gurugram based Ed-Tech-Sci start-up that works in the areas of AR, VR, MR and gamification in education) and is a spirited and creative person at heart. He has a flair for innovation and is always excited in the creation of ‘NEW’. Yuvraj is an education enthusiast and has spent a considerable amount of time inside classrooms with learners of varied intelligence. An accomplished facilitator and a persuasive speaker, Yuvraj has a way with children and young adults and keenly explores newer ways to develop future skills in the learners of today!

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