DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL THINKERS
The mathematical skills of problem solving, and reasoning contribute to having a sound understanding of the world around us. They build confidence, resilience and curiosity. Critical thinking skills and an ability to communicate our reasoning form the basic needs of many workplaces, but also help foster positive well-being and independence. What many mathematics educators know about maths learning is that it can no longer be looked at as a set of rules and procedures to be memorised, but rather a system of meaningful relationships to be investigated and explored.
DEVELOPING ‘NUMBER SENSE’
Number sense is a relatively new term in maths education. It refers to the ability for students to work flexibly and conceptually with numbers. Research has shown that students who experience the greatest success in maths generally have a deeper, more intuitive understanding of numbers and how they relate to each other. They can view them conceptually and have developed strategies to adapt them to solve various situations. Simply put, they have good number sense.
The problem-solving sessions we are doing at school are designed to encourage the development of students’ number sense. Students are encouraged to justify their thinking while communicating the solutions to the problems solved. Communication is key and this should be encouraged and supported. We are working on the students ability to begin a problem with a strategy in mind but be flexible in their thinking to try an alternative strategy to achieve results including explaining and defending their reasoning. We want them to be comfortable representing their thinking using pictures, numbers, symbols and words as well as being able to compare their method to other problem-solving strategies. Here is an example of a problem we have worked on.
Create A Pattern
Directions: Use the digits 0 to 9, at the most one time each, place a digit in each box to make a pattern that changes by the same amount each time.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
Mathematics at home is not about completing lots of mathematical exercises. It is an opportunity to work practically in different situations where your child can see mathematics as more than just numbers on a page. It does not need expensive equipment; everyday objects are great.
- Cooking/ decorating/ gardening
- Playing games and tidying up
- Planning trips (simply deciding when to leave the house to get somewhere on time)