Many of our families have asked for suggestions of how to support their children with Mathematics at home. Mathematics instruction has certainly changed since I was a child and has resulted in students who are able to think mathematically when presented with problems that they can't solve with basic recall of facts. If you would like to know more about this, I recommend that parents visit Alberta Learning's Parent website regarding Math - https://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/math/parents/links.aspx.
As a staff we have been having discussions about the need to ensure that students have "number sense" as well as having memorized their basic facts. We have been sharing many new math games that will help students become more automatic in their recall of basic facts, as we do recognize that rapid recall in this is an area that is important to all future mathematical operations. In addition to having students memorize their basic facts, it is important that they gain number sense to understand WHY these facts represent mathematical truths. For instance, if a student can recite the fact, "6x7=42", they can recall that fact as part of a string of memorized facts. If they understand that 6 groups of 7 items makes a total (product) of 42, then they also know that to determine the product of 7 groups of 7 they could just add 7 to the fact that they already know. We believe that both of these skills are important to think mathematically.
With that said, families can support their child's gaining this understanding through practice at home. Recognize and acknowledge the applications of math in everyday life~ for instance, eating snacks is a great way to teach children to both add and subtract. Street signs and house numbers can likewise provide an opportunity to both add and subtract, but also to estimate or calculate the distance until you arrive at your destination. Take your child shopping with you and ask them to calculate the cost or change. Playing board games is a great way for young children to learn about adding, subtracting and turn-taking. Cards and dice can help children learn to quickly recognize numbers, and learn to add them together. Your child may use the word subitizing to describe this skill. Involve your child in baking or cooking to practice work with fractions.
Over the next few weeks I will share some games with you. If you don't have cards, you can easily cut paper to create your own and number them from 1 - 9 (or 10). Draw the appropriate number of dots on each card.
Updates from the Office
Remember to check out our school website - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347