Mental maths: Games for car trips and around the home!

MENTAL games and activities are excellent ways of sharpening maths skills. Even if they use calculators in schools, strong mental maths skills help in faster completion of problems often indicating the child has grasped the concept involved. Moreover, the play element is a proven form of engaging the mind, facilitating learning insights. To hone your child's mental maths skills, check out these activities for use during car trips, to employ at home in the kitchen or in the garden, or to play online. In fact, some of these activities may inspire you or your child to come up with your own game ideas!

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The "equal" sign: Are you using it correctly?

Equal_thumb.jpgTHE equal sign, "=" is a mathematical symbol used to say two different items have the same value. However, chances are that an average student's working steps would depict some form of incorrect usage. Why is this a serious issue? Confusion about notation, what is proper or not, leads to computational errors in problem solving.

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Word problems - understand problem context first

Solving_thumb.jpgIN the wake of newspaper reports about the relative toughness of the recent PSLE maths paper, an onSponge workshop coach noted the critical need to first understand the problem context. Once that is achieved, applying the method (procedural learning) to derive the solution becomes relatively manageable, and would be similar to other problems tackled in the classroom.

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3...2...1...blast off for the PSLE! Some parent perspectives

IT's that time of year again! Elevated stress and worry levels likely differentiate parents of children all over Singapore sitting for the all-important local Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). It's a special time when the child is perhaps given even more attention than ever, increased gentle (or otherwise) encouragement and marked by special diets, increased intake of health supplements like vitamins and extra special soups, carefully monitored sleep patterns, greater attention to stress-relieving mechanisms of sporting activities, planned periods of non-academic reading, computer games, etc. In some families, it might even be a time when both parents increase their levels of cooperative parenting, taking it up a notch to share the load.

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Let your child try that problem sum on their own!

COACH Kevin stresses the importance of perseverance in problem sum solving in the context of parent facilitation. If a child wants to give up, parents should resist that urge to step in too soon to help with the solution. Instead, encourage and guide them in their struggle. This is because the result of that struggle is real learning that prepares them to solve the next problem.

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