Learning from the successes and failures of other approaches, and from the teaching experience of its creator, The Mathnasium Method uses a unique combination of mental, verbal, visual, tactile, and written techniques to help children learn math.
Students are taught how and when to use mental math techniques. This enables them to dispense with needless paper–and–pencil work and focus on the task at hand.
Example: 99 + 99 + 99 = _____
Instead of setting this problem as a vertical addition problem, students are taught to think, “100 + 100 + 100 – 3 = 300 – 3 = 297.”
Language is used as an integral part of the program. Students are taught the meaning of root words in the mathematics context. Students are also taught how to explain their thought process and reasoning verbally.
Percent is taught by breaking the word down into its components: per CENT—"for each 100." Using this definition, students think of "7% of 300" as "7 for the first 100, 7 for the second hundred, and 7 for the third hundred. 7 + 7 + 7 = 21."
Meaningful pictures, charts, and tables are used to explain ideas and concepts. Many of the problems in the workbooks are “picture–based,” providing students with insights into problems that transcend the written words.
Example: Many of the problems in the Mathnasium program feature pictures as prompts for problem solving. "If each circle in the picture is a dime, how much money is shown in the picture?"
When appropriate, manipulatives are used to introduce, explain, and/or reinforce concepts and skills. The transfer of knowledge from manipulatives to other aspects of learning is carefully monitored.
Examples: Counting chips are used to facilitate learning the principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Dice and cards are used in studying probability.
Written practice with computation (“drill”) is a necessary component of mathematics education. Mathnasium provides for abundant practice. In addition, our workbooks and other printed material provide a framework for the orderly development of mathematical thought and skills.
Examples: Our worksheets cover the entire spectrum from practicing "1 + 1" to dealing with three-dimensional vectors. In addition, our printed materials cover all aspects of problem solving.
Attitude and Self-Esteem
Many students come through our doors with an “I'm no good at math…I hate math” attitude. Kids don't really “hate math.” What they hate is being frustrated, embarrassed and confused by math.
Being successful is the best way to overcome these problems. Mathnasium provides for success by finding the right starting point (through diagnostic testing) and building confidence and self–esteem through successful encounter and interaction with carefully selected materials.
The Mathnasium Method also provides enrichment at all levels of the curriculum; advanced work, including topics not usually introduced in the classroom, for students who are ready; and intensive remediation, as needed.