Published at Friday, 10 May 2019. math worksheet. By Vignetta Delaunay.
Until recently, scientists and educators thought that math anxiety first appears when children begin to learn complicated mathematics (such as algebra). This would mean that young children (who do not yet do complicated math) do not experience math anxiety. However, recent research has shown that some children as young as 6 years old say that they feel anxious about math. A team of researchers asked 154 children in grades 1 and 2 questions like, “how do you feel when taking a big test in your math class?”  The children had to indicate how nervous they felt by pointing to a position on a scale, ranging from a very nervous face on the left to a calm face on the right. (See Figure 1 for a picture of the scale.) After answering these questions, the children took a math test that measured their math abilities. These researchers found that almost half of the children who participated in the study said that they were at least somewhat nervous about doing math . Also, children with higher math anxiety got worse scores on the math test. This research tells us that math anxiety and the relationship between math anxiety and math ability develops when children are very young.
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 , 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.
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