How To Help Your Child Understand Elementary School Math Concepts
To help kids understand math concepts, we can make math
What you want to start with is making sure your child understands how numbers work. They should be able to count. They should understand that the numbers go in order and that there's a maths concept called ordinality. The child should know that if you're counting apples and you count 1-2-3-4, it means that there are four apples, that they don't have to recount them again to understand that there are four apples. The child should also be able to make mathematical estimates. So, you should be able to say, “about how many leaves are in those trees there? Are there ten or are there a thousand?” and they should be able to tell you that there are more like a thousand, or there are more like ten if it's a really sparse tree. That's the sort of thing that children have a really hard time with with maths concepts though. So to then expect that child to solve a multiplication problem and eyeball if the answer is right is impossible, if they don't really have a concept of how many is a thousand. We spend a lot of time counting when we're trying to teach place value. You've got your ones and your tens. If they don't understand ones, tens and hundreds then place, borrowing and carrying is really tricky because all they know is they're putting these little numbers up above their addition problem but they don't know why they're doing it. So, we spend a lot of time counting. We use play money. We'll count by ones and we'll count by tens and we'll see that ten ones equal a ten dollar bill and then we'll count by tens and see how they go and what if we do four tens and then one one, how many is that? For a lot of children, they have to go through this tangible process to understand, okay, you really are adding more to them. You really are taking some away. And so for us, whatever we can do to make it physical, to make them actually see things adding, things subtracting, things multiplying is helpful in children's understanding of maths concepts. It's simple things like that but it helps the children to understand what they're doing with maths, that it's not just random numbers with random answers that some teacher is telling you is right. So whatever you can do to make things concrete I think helps.