Published at Friday, May 10th 2019. by Vignetta Delaunay in math worksheet.

While working memory is an important component of succeeding in math, resetting how we think about math is also necessary. If kids think that math isn’t for them — either you get it or you don’t, and they don’t — they aren’t going to feel hopeful or even motivated about learning. This way of thinking about math has parallels to psychologist Carol Dweck’s research on the different mindsets that people have when it comes to learning things.

Use “number talk” to encourage child to reveal their thought process when providing an answer. The introduction of shape, size, space, position, direction and movement concepts that become the basis for geometry in upper grades.

After observing and reflecting on your child’s thinking process, adjust activities accordingly. For instance, if a child can subitize (recognize quantity without counting by hand), but can’t identify the printed number, try playing a game where objects are labeled with the corresponding number in the set to help your child memorize what the number symbol looks like.

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.

Have you ever felt stressed and anxious when your math teacher asks you a question? Or when you are doing your math homework? If so, you might have experienced what is called math anxiety. The feeling of being extremely nervous when faced with doing basic mathematics. If you have experienced math anxiety, you are not alone. Many people feel extremely nervous when faced with a situation that requires them to do basic mathematics. Math anxiety is more than just feeling nervous about doing math. Nervousness is a sensible reaction to a situation that is actually scary. In contrast, anxiety might not make sense. This means that a person may feel anxious even though he or she knows that there is really no reason to feel anxious. Also, anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or sweating. Usually, people who have math anxiety believe that they are bad at math and because of this, they do not like math. These feelings lead them to avoid situations in which they have to do math. Children with math anxiety often have poor math skills [1]. Adults with math anxiety often have trouble with math in their careers and everyday life [2]. Adults with math anxiety are less likely to show interest, enter, and succeed in careers relating to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

One of the main goals of understanding what causes math anxiety and how math anxiety affects the brain is to find ways to help people with math anxiety and ultimately to prevent it from happening. Some researchers have created tools to help people with math anxiety. These tools are called interventions. A tool or program that is given to people with the goal of helping them improve or get better at a skill. For example, researchers have made interventions based on research showing that writing down thoughts and feelings beforehand can make people feel less nervous when taking tests. Researchers thought that if children wrote down their thoughts and feelings, those feelings would not occupy working memory while the children were completing a math test. So, the researchers did an intervention where they asked children with math anxiety to write about their math-related worries. These researchers found that, when students wrote about their math-related worries, their math test scores improved. A different group of researchers showed that if college students with math anxiety did some breathing exercises to calm them down before a math test, they felt more calm and their scores on the test improved. Together, these intervention studies provide scientific evidence for ways that we can help people with math anxiety. This research is very promising because it tells us that people with math anxiety can be helped—they are not stuck with math anxiety for life.

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.

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