Are Math Skills Genetic?

Mar 7, 2021 | Location New Berlin

"I never understood math" -B.G.

"I just wasn't good at math"- S.G.

"I hated math" -B.W.

Sometimes, parents think that because they didn't like math, their kids won't either. For instance, perhaps those parents had a hard time learning fractions.... and now they assume their student will have a hard time learning fractions as well. So are those parents right? Is there a math gene that passes on from one generation to the next?

In other words, are math skills genetic?

Well, yes and no. 

Scientists have studied this popular concept, nature versus nurture for decades. Nature represents the set of skills we are born with (what we have in our DNA) and nurture represents what we can achieve on our own, despite our genetic code. In a study conducted by Nature Communications, we find that up to 50% of a child's ability to learn is, in fact, hereditary. (Looks like mom and dad can pass on some of their academic expertise) But what about that other half? That 50%(+) is up to us?

This is where it gets cool:

Although your genetic code can help you understand math, it is definitely not the biggest contributor to being successful. Not by a long shot. When comparing learned traits to genetic ones, My Ed Resource explains, "Hard work, preparation, and confidence make better students". This is great news! We have more control over our mathematic success than a roll of the genetic dice. Furthermore, a study by Purdue University states that students who have "incremental orientation" (or believe their ability to learn is malleable, and thus, can improve) have higher grades and higher academic engagement.

Parents, who themselves may have struggled in math, can now sigh in relief. Your own math history isn't doomed to be repeated in your child. (Phew!) So how can we activate those learned-math traits in your child? It's the same way a child learns to play the piano. It's the same way a child learns another language. 

It's practice. And it really helps to have a positive experience during that practice. 

Mathnasium of New Berlin is ready to introduce your child to a brand new math experience. We build your child's math skills using our patented Mathnasium Method. The Mathnasium Method begins with a comprehensive assessment that reveals the strengths and weaknesses in your child's understanding of math. Then your child's special Mathnasium instructor will make a customized learning plan, perfectly tailored to your individual student. The instructor then proceeds to teach, always remembering that at Mathnasium of New Berlin, we teach to understand. 

Despite every child beginning at a different level, parents of children at Mathnasium see amazing results. It doesn't matter if your child has the DNA of Albert Einstein or not, we can help take their math skills to the next level. 

 

Locations near
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