5 Mathnasium Tips to Help Your K-5 Child Love Math
Mathnasium’s philosophy and method draw on our founder Larry Martinek’s 35 years of experience as a Los Angeles math teacher, educational consultant, and father to a math genius. Assembled over three decades, Larry’s method didn’t rely on memorization but built deep understanding through working with numbers in innovative ways. Working beyond written exercises, Larry used verbal, mental, visual, and tactile methods because kids learn in different ways. His method began to spread and LA schools began teaching from his materials instead of textbooks. Test scores skyrocketed within two years at every grade level. In 2002, Larry opened the first Mathnasium learning center in Westwood, Los Angeles. Since then Mathnasium has expanded to nearly 850 centers in North America and almost 100 abroad because it truly works.
Math is a ladder, and Math curriculum for K-5 students is foundational to everything that comes after. There are many ways you can help your child build understanding, here are just five of Mathnasium’s many methods that will transform your student’s math skills and confidence.
Counting and Grouping
- “Count up by 3’s, starting from 9, until 27.” - Counting is the most basic math skill. Much more than just counting sequentially by ones, to build number sense, kids need to know how to count from any number, by any number, to any number, both forward and backward. Counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and eventually 3’s, 4’s, 6’s, 9’s, 11’s, 12’s, 15’s, 20’s, ½’s, and more, in either direction, and starting at random places, will give them strong additions skills and make the times tables painless.
- “7 and how much more make 10?” Help your kids “see” groups by a focus on the powers of 10, multiples of 10, and 10 itself. Complements of 10 can be extended to questions like “10 and how much more make 18?” or “60 and how much more make 100?” These are done mentally and boost kids understanding of how grouping can expand their mental computational process.
- “How much is half of 5?” Before you ever mention the words “numerator” or “denominator”, teach kids that half means “2 parts the same”. You can extend that to larger even numbers, then extend to odd numbers with the knowledge that a whole can be split into two parts the same. From the example of “How much is half of 5?” help kids reason that 4 splits into 2 and 2, and the leftover 1 can also be split into equal halves, and reassemble them into 2½ and 2½. The skill of seeing a whole as a collection of parts needs to be, and can be, taught as early as Kindergarten.
- “I’m 38 years old, and you are 9. How old will I be when you are 15?” Ask kids to solve problems like this early on around the house, or ask money-related questions while shopping. As they get older make them tougher, asking things like “How can 3 kids share 2 candy bars equally?” The more you expose them to “translating” real-life word problems into its math equivalent, the more comfortable they will get seeing it in school.
- “How many dimes have the same value as 9 quarters?” Kids should know the value of coins by the end of 2ndgrade. A year later, they should be able to tell you equivalents, from questions like “If you buy something that costs .18, how much change will you get back from $2.00?” Counting up piggy banks or jars of change is one good way to help kids build this skill.
- “How much is 7% of 250?” The meaning of the word percent is Per = “For Each” and Cent = “Hundred”. To easily calculate percent, count by the percent number given for each hundred of the total. In this case, we count 7 for the first 100, 7 for the second 100, and half of 7 for the 50, which is 3½. So, 7+7+3½= 17½. So, 7% of 250 is 17½. (Go ahead, try it on your phone now!) Extend these from easier calculations like 5% of 100 at the early grades to tougher ones like “6½ % of 50” as kids get the hang of it.
We Make Math Make Sense!
These are just a few tips to help you develop your child’s interest and understanding. At Mathnasium, we believe kids don’t hate math, they hate being confused and intimidated by math. Our students attend year-round, attending 2-3 times a week for an hour at a time on a flexible, drop-in basis. We determine their weak spots and build a customized learning plan for them. Our instructors, trained in the Mathnasium Method, teach using different modes that address the learning style of your child. We periodically reassess your student and communicate the results to you, which will also be measured by their improving grades. As their understanding grows, so will their interest and passion, paving the way for true mathematics growth and a happy and confident student.
Mathnasium of Simi Valley is Pre-Enrolling for our May opening! Call Boralda at (805) 864-6605 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire for more information.