Math Readiness Archives • Elephant Learning

Category Archives for "Math Readiness"

It’s About More Than Just Math: Fear, Growth and Adaptation
Dec 02

It’s About More Than Just Math: Fear, Growth and Adaptation

By Elephant Learning | Math Readiness

Math anxiety — a fear of getting math concepts and problems wrong and the resulting avoidance of math because of that — is something I’ve seen many times over my life and not just in children. It’s just as prevalent in adults and, believe it or not, despite my PhD in math, I experienced math anxiety as a child, too. 

While some children allowed their math anxiety to grow into a lifelong avoidance of math, mine fueled my competitive spirit and led me to push ahead of my peers, learning advanced math concepts even when I wasn’t able to get into the advanced math classes my middle school offered.

That’s a big question mark in the math anxiety experience and one that can greatly impact your child’s future. Will they choose to avoid math for life? Or will they use math to their advantage in not just their elementary education, but also their higher education and later career? Will they have a growth mindset, or a fear mindset? Will they avoid the concepts they fear, or use their fear of math to get better at it? In many cases, these are the big questions you ask, not whether or not your child actually has math anxiety.

See, most of us have some sort of anxiety around math or another subject. The anxiety might not even be about the math itself per se. Instead, it’s the anxiety around being perceived as a bad student or as “stupid.” It just so happens that many people don’t learn math easily via the curriculum used in most schools and our society in general tells us it’s okay to not be a “numbers person” — and so, math anxiety continues. 

Related: Answers to Your Top Questions About Math Anxiety 

But if your child latches onto that growth mindset and they overcome their fear of math, the opportunities are endless. 

The Power of a Growth Mindset

When our children are encouraged to pursue math, not when they’re told that being “not a numbers person” is perfectly fine, but when they are empowered to overcome their math anxiety, everyone benefits. It’s not just about your child and their elementary school grades. Beyond that, your child and their peers could be the catalyst for a better future for the world. 

Related: Children are Empowered Through Understanding

Math skills are analytic and reasoning skills. Students who do well in math usually do well in everything else. Studies have proven time and time again that children who do well in math early on, do better in all their subjects later. A math literate society is a more successful one. 

A math literate society can produce more scientists, technologists, engineers and more who are equipped to solve the world’s problems. Math-literate entrepreneurs, politicians and creatives add their own value when they’re able to discuss the world’s issues with math-focused professionals. 

But What if My Child Simply Can’t Do That?

Some parents worry that their children are simply incapable of learning advanced math concepts or even basic math concepts, due to a learning disability. But I feel that nearly every child can learn math regardless, and here’s why. 

Every student seems to have the capacity for learning language. At Elephant Learning, we work with math as a language and if your student, regardless of learning impairment, is able to speak and understand language, then our system should be able to work for them (as it’s language based).

Related: Case Study: A 5th Grader’s Journey with Elephant Learning

Beyond Math

Similarly, just as we use language learning methods to teach math within the Elephant Learning app, the same methods we use to teach math (and the same teaching methods discussed all throughout the Elephant Learning blog) are applicable to any subject. 

For example, one of the key ways we tell parents to help their child overcome math misunderstandings is to, when a child gets a math problem wrong, instead of telling them the answer is wrong, ask them why they think that’s the right answer. When a child explains, the parent can generally pinpoint why they’re getting the concept wrong and remedy the situation. This same practice can be used when helping a child learn anything. 

Awareness and Adaptation

Through methods like this that children learn through math, children can then learn to be aware of their obstacles and adapt to overcome those obstacles. But the first obstacle you as their parent have to be aware of in order to help them adapt to overcome it, is math anxiety. Once they’re empowered and go on to becoming aware of obstacles on their own, the sky’s the limit. They can encounter a problem and rather than letting their anxiety tell them to head in the other direction, they can devise a way to solve the problem.

The empowerment children need in order to do so is possible through the Elephant Learning app and through working with your child hands-on, on a regular basis, and getting involved with their education. 

With awareness and adaptation, your child can accomplish anything — from overcoming their math anxiety to changing the world.

Valuable Skills Your Child Learns in Math That They Can’t Learn Anywhere Else
Apr 16

Valuable Skills Your Child Learns in Math That They Can’t Learn Anywhere Else

By Elephant Learning | Math Readiness

If you caught my last post, you already know how math determines your child’s success in seemingly unrelated academic areas and in their future career.

Now I want to dig deeper into the more specific skills and concepts a child learns when they’re truly understanding math (versus just memorizing some facts), that can then help them in all areas of life.

When you have a mental tool like math, it really can change the way you think about everything thing else.

Related: How Math Determines Your Child’s Overall Success

Logic: The Secret to Your Child’s Success

I mentioned analytical skills and problem-solving, but what are some examples of this?

Personally, I saw math develop my own analytical skills in high school, during a time when I wasn’t even pursuing math as a career. I had just found my way into computer programming and that math-based field was teaching me math skills in ways I, at the time, didn’t even realize.

At the same time that I was taking computer programming in high school, I was also involved in speech and debate. I’m 100 percent sure that the logic I learned from computer programming affected my performance in this extracurricular. It gave me the precision and logic necessary to poke holes in the opposition’s arguments and do so in a succinct way that easily led to victories for my debate team.

The precision and logic that stems from math is irrefutable; math is just facts. When you learn the facts for math specifically, the logic and precision skills stick around, playing in the background when you take on other mental challenges and need to formulate an argument or a theory with the best chances of irrefutable correctness.

The Life-Long Benefits of a Good Math Foundation

Children who grasp mathematical reasoning at an early age go on to use their reasoning and logic skills to better both their careers and their worlds.

In one study, two cohorts of 13-year-olds in the top 1 percent of mathematical reasoning ability were followed throughout their lives. After 40 years had passed, those students with the highest mathematical reasoning skills had gone on to accomplish incredible things.

Across the nearly 1,700 students, they had…

  • Published 85 books
  • Secured 681 patents
  • Amassed nearly $400 million in grants

Their math acumen (and their corresponding aptitude for logic and reasoning) predicted their creative contributions and occupational leadership.

The Tough Truth About Not Grasping Basic Math

Children who never grasp basic math concepts conversely go on to become older students and then adults without the same precise, logical abilities.

When this happens, it’s easy to invent stories about why you might not be good at math. Maybe you tell yourself that you’re not a “numbers person” (an excuse not to succeed at numbers-related tasks).

There aren’t really “numbers” and “not-numbers people.” Everyone has the same mathematical abilities. It just comes down to whether or not you’re correctly exercising that part of your brain — the logical, precise part — that makes math easy. The more you use that part of your brain, the stronger it gets. Math is simply a tool you can use to strengthen your logic and reasoning.

However, if you’ve invented a story for yourself about why you’re not good at math, or if you’ve had a bad experience learning math and have resulting “math anxiety,” you’re less likely to want to develop that part of your brain later in life and learn math-related skills, because you associate math with pain.

See How Easily Your Child Can Obtain These Valuable Math Skills

Preventing your child from becoming an adult with math anxiety isn’t difficult. All it takes is giving them the right experiences with math as a student so that they (a) are comfortable exercising the logical parts of their brains using the tool of math and (b) understand math as a logical way of thinking versus simply a series of numbers and formulas to memorize.

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Elephant Learning teaches math concepts from a logic and reasoning perspective, so students learn the underlying basic skills of math before attempting to tackle intimidating numbers and equations. These basic skills are the aspects of math that set up your child to succeed throughout the rest of their life.

Get started with the Elephant Learning app and see how I used my knowledge as a Ph.D. mathematician to change the early learning math experience to remarkable results. Our users learn at least a year of math in three months, just by using the app 30 minutes per week, or your money back.

How Math Determines Your Child's Overall Success
Apr 09

How Math Determines Your Child’s Overall Success

By Elephant Learning | Math Readiness

If you could know that your actions today would guarantee a better future for your child, you’d make the choices necessary to assure the best future possible for them, right?

Of course you would; any parent wants their child to succeed in life and go on to be happy and secure.

Research shows time and again that early math skills heavily determine your child’s overall success. So what more can parents do to help develop their child’s early math skills?

From reading and writing to overall comprehension and problem-solving, math plays a huge role in your child’s future. They don’t need to go on to be in even a remotely math-heavy career field to experience this.

The Unexpected Industries That Require Math Skills

Studies have come out recently showing how critical math skills are to the job market. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found:

  • The fastest-growing, best-paying jobs are in STEM-related fields
  • Careers in banking and finance, information technology, health care and construction are all STEM-related jobs predicted to grow to over 9 million by 2022
  • There’s an increase in demand for STEM skills in non-STEM fields

PayScale’s latest College Salary Report is especially eye-opening. STEM grads have a mid-career average salary of $103,408. This is a big deal considering the cost of higher education and student loans.

As you see the digitization of different industries, you can watch as the skills needed for success in these industries evolve to include more math.

Take, for example, marketing. It’s now a completely different field than it was 10 or 20 years ago. With the rise of new ways to measure marketing performance, the field increasingly relies on analytics, data, and reporting. All of these require math comprehension.

It’s not just monetary success that goes hand-in-hand with math skills, either. Other studies find that math skills are necessary for jobs that have a better work environment and greater employee satisfaction as well. Aren’t these two aspects of working life we would never want to deny our children?

Getting the Most Value Out of Math

The way math influences your child’s success isn’t simply by enabling them to solve an equation. Below the surface, math teaches children a new way of thinking, analytical skills and methods of problem-solving that will always be true and precise, no matter the circumstances.

Even before a child reaches college or career age, math influences their success otherwise. Early math skills predict future reading achievement and other academic performance, regardless of a child’s socioemotional behaviors and socioeconomic backgrounds.

In this way, mathematics is a philosophy that’s also an exact science. In traditional philosophy, you might philosophize about knowledge and love and define those concepts any way you want. In mathematics, you define something precisely and then can extrapolate what’s true, precisely and exactly, from there.

Mathematical theories are more than theories, they’re logically true, unlike perhaps a theory in physics or other branches of science, where the theories can change over time with new discoveries and methods of measurement. Math, however, is always true.

Having that as a tool to approach other ideas and use as a scaffold for further thinking and theorizing is extremely important. I’ll go into this toolbox of math-taught skills further in next week’s blog post.

Memorizing Math Facts Doesn’t Add Up

Setting your child up for success in math and then later in life isn’t as easy as teaching them to count before they go to preschool. When children simply learn to memorize math facts, they’re not internalizing the math-related skills that influence that later success.

Students are more likely to succeed when they begin to understand the logic behind numbers, rather than being able to just spout off multiplication tables on command. In fact, your child’s skills in math might not have anything to do with how quickly they can solve basic problems; when your child takes the time to think about the numbers, they get closer to cracking into the problem-solving and analytical skills that give math its value in any career.

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30 minutes a week x 3 months = 1 year of math concepts

Elephant Learning’s match academy is a proven math curriculum for kids ages 2 – 16

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The Elephant Learning app helps your child learn mathematical concepts and truly understand them before moving on to the next concept, rather than just asking them to memorize numbers with a few flashy games and boring repetition.

If you’re looking for math resources for your child to set them up for long-term success, then you’re already on the right track. Get started with the Elephant Learning app to ensure your child develops the math-related skills necessary to succeed in any career.

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