Published at Thursday, May 09th 2019. by Lacie Leclerc in math worksheet.

Just like it’s a good idea to read to your children, it’s also a good idea for you to do math together. Of course, parents often have their own anxieties about math. As with any other kind of anxiety, it’s important to try not to pass on your fears to your children.

Researchers are also interested in how math anxiety develops. Although research has shown that math anxiety and math abilities are related [1], no study so far has been able to tell us which comes first. In other words, we do not know if being bad at math causes math anxiety, or if having math anxiety makes people bad at math.

Invite child to count collections of things such as erasers, blocks, or small toy animals, then show the counts on paper. Draw the objects or a circle representing each item and place the objects on the respective circle to show an accurate count.

Number pizzas. Tell child, “I’m a chef and I’m making pizza.” Set red plastic chips on a paper plate and ask “How many pepperonis do I have?” Next, “Can you make your pizza have the same number, or matching pepperonis, as mine?” This game teaches concepts of similarities and differences – the same number can be organized in a different way.

Early math is fundamental because children use math concepts in their daily routines. Nurturing the value of math skills in early youth may help alleviate the anxiety that an increasing number of older students experience who struggle with math. Negative self-talk in students creates a reticence to work through challenging problems in school. Children will achieve more if they are indoctrinated when young with a positive mindset that math can be enjoyable, math is not something to be afraid of, and making mistakes is part of the learning process.

When people are feeling anxious, it becomes harder for them to access their working memory because they are preoccupied with their fear. This preoccupation drains the cognitive resources they would otherwise have at their disposal. There is a lot of research to back this up, including research specifically about math anxiety. For example, in a 2001 study by Mark Ashcraft and Elizabeth Kirk, people with math anxiety exhibited a pronounced decline in working memory capacity when tested on a computation-based task but no decline on a verbal-based task, indicating that their working memory was only compromised when their math anxiety was triggered.

There seem to be two prevailing opinions about math in America. The first is how important it is. We want more kids to be excelling in math and choosing careers in STEM (science technology, engineering and math) topics. But at the same time, many Americans are also quick to say, “I’m terrible at math.” More than any other subject, math is considered something people are either really good at, or really not.

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