Here you will see students as young as 4 and 5 years old doing algebra and "advanced" math, without ever knowing it's supposed to be hard.
You are invited to learn how to use this method...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Too Young To Build Tens

People are always amazed that somehow children learn math through play. This is because when they remember math there probably wasn't much play or fun associated with it. In fact a lot of people would rather not remember their math experiences at all because they often were so bad.

How about you break this cycle with your kids and give them fun math experiences instead, and happy memories. Use math manipulatives and play and have some fun learning. The idea is to give them an algorithm to solve problems like 7 + 8, but before we do that we have to understand that numbers are made up of other numbers and in order to do that we need to build them starting usually with 10.

base ten blocks, addition, addends, math manipulatives
It's like stairs dad! And the two falling off was all kinds of funny.

This little girl is building tens we built other numbers and counted pairs of numbers too but we spent a lot of time on ten and nines. I'd say this qualifies as quality time with dad. We didn't attempt to write anything at all. Just built and talked about the numbers. Using base ten blocks makes it visually obvious to the child and later when they do see symbols the symbols make sense. She gets a full sensory experience using BOTH hands, hearing and seeing what we are learning as we go...whether she is a kinesthetic learner, a visual or auditory learner doesn't really matter...we cover all the bases. Further, even if she was dyslexic it wouldn't matter there are no symbols to confuse and the base ten blocks level that playing field too. She can see what she is doing and hear her father and I tell her that nine and one is the same as ten.

People often think that in order for them to learn math they have to write it down or they aren't really learning it. Really? Do you get little babies to write words down when you are teaching them English? Or do you just talk to them and they pick up the language that way and later maybe when they are 4 or 5 put a crayon in their hand and let them start learning to write letters...but just because they have a hard time writing their letters doesn't mean they can't speak English. Apply the same thinking and reasoning to the mathematics which is also a language.

base ten blocks, toddlers learn math, fun math activities,
I can do it...
You start with very basic concepts like numbers are made up of other numbers and they all want to be ten. You can build tens up and down or you can build them flat or you can make walls. It doesn't matter. If you build sky scrapers they get a good sense of ordination...that is 2 is 1 more than 1 and 3 is 2 + 1 and so on all the way to she started with 10 first and worked we our way down. There is no wrong way to play you don't have to start at one. She built NINES and TENS.

addends with base ten blocks
Building nines is fun and easy.

She looks pretty happy, doesn't she? She was being bribed with goji berries at the time but who cares? She had fun and she did her "work" with lots of smiles and discoveries that caused some exclamations. "6+4 is 10 and 4+6 is also 10!" Some methodologies say you shouldn't reward them and the learning itself should be the reward. Fine. I've seen kids move mountains of math for a piece of chocolate. make the associations with math pleasant from an early age. I give this dad credit because he understands it's extra important to give his daughter a good head start when it come to math (and other subjects) but especially math. Our culture still perpetuates the myth that math is a guy thing, the same way a few hundred years ago reading was a guy thing...

You don't have to go in order just play.
She was having fun building this ten wall on her own. No need to tell her to go in oder starting with nine and one. After a bit we asked her if she could use different combinations but at this point just building the wall that high without knocking it over was a big deal. Fine motor skills being's more than just math going here.

You can see these shots were taken on two different days about a week apart. In that amount of time at this age it's basically new again. But the repetition isn't lost and neither are the concepts. It's in there. The sub conscious mind stores everything. Later we can bring it out again. To educate. To draw fourth....not to cram in. AND when we draw it fourth it will come with pleasant associations making everything that much easier.

Basically we are working on addends here which will make addition much easier later on. I have pages on addends and addition and more games and activities you can play over at my website Crewton Ramone's House of Math.  Join us on FaceBook. And spend some time watching videos on youtube for more info on how to PLAY math.

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