A science-based approach to teaching math
What do odds of solving a Rubik’s Cube have to do with most kids’ math scores?
In our quest to help our kids thrive, you may be asking yourself: How do we teach kids the mathematical equation of learning? What influences a child’s ability to learn?
Are students simply born with math talent? Or do they know it instinctively from a young age?
At MindShift, we ask ourselves these questions every day, because our goal is to create, for children around the world, the type of math culture and learning experience that provides excitement and joy. And, as such, our research and support programs do not focus on building math muscles, but on helping a child’s natural desire to learn math to mature into a gift that can be highly experienced and nurtured.
We start by looking closely at the everyday lives of those in our company—students, teachers, partners and ourselves—to see how math can be made relevant.
How does our culture support natural math curiosity?
Cultivating a culture of math curiosity begins early by getting out the facts: That everything we can and do know about math can be found on the classroom, at home and in the neighborhood. We want to encourage children to wonder, wonder for others, and wonder even more for what they don’t know.
But parents can help by talking about their own math problems and coming up with creative ideas. Try asking your kids, “What’s the best way to cook your whole roast?” or “What does your kale taste like?” or “How do you turn white potatoes into a pumpkin pie?”
This is another reason why building math skills and experiences is key—parents should take an active role in their children’s math learning by showing them a way to interact with a messy onion, or by asking them, “What number does that shoe?” or “What would be the answer to this math problem?”
Another key part of building mathematical curiosity is inspiring curiosity. One way to stimulate interest is to find fun puzzles for children to solve and to try new things. Here are three great ways to get out the facts about math:
The Rubik’s Cube: By putting math to use for fun, we teach children to use math to solve some of life’s problems. Math plays a key role in so many aspects of our lives; young children need to learn math so they are exposed to different problems and may find different ways to solve them—with some surprising results!