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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Math Made Easy!

Once upon a time I was web surfing and came across an interesting method of teaching mathematics to young children. I thought it was interesting. My report is right here, true and honest. :)
This method makes children think of numbers in terms of five. Confusing? Stay with me.

What you will need

1) 2 Tables like this:

Take construction paper or even better cardboard. Draw 2 table with 2 columns and 5 rows. Then cut them out. If you are computer savvy use a program to design them and print afterwards. Cut them out.

2) 20 (plus more extra ones in case you loose some) pawns. You can use them from an old board game but they should be all identical. I cut out squares out of colored construction paper.

That is all you need! How easy is that!

What to do

First, put 1 table in front of your child and let him/her count the rectangles/squares(depends what you have there) in each column. Now the child knows that each one has 5. Show him/her the pawns and ask to show you how number 5 will look on this table by covering each rectangle with a pawn(if your child is a very early beginner start with 1, then 2 and so on). There is one rule though: cover the spaces starting with the left column from the bottom up. Makes sense, right? This should look like this.

Next, ask your child to cover all the rest of the table, starting again from the bottom up. This is how it is going to look.

Count together all the covered spaces. 10! Now he/she sees( and you make sure about that!) that 5 and 5 make 10. This is the easy step. Children usually know about it already from counting fingers: 2 hands=10 fingers.

After your child understood the concept ask him/her to show you how number 6 would look. And again: start from the bottom up. that is the main rule. That is how it should look.

Then - number 8.

Point out to your child that 8 is 5 and 3 and 6 is 5 and 1.
You have 8 covered spaces on your table. Ask how many pawns are need to be removed to get 5 again. The answer you hear is 3. Instruct to remove 3 pawns.
You can practice simple addition and subtraction on 1 table till the child is confident. Then, move on to a second table. Cover 11, 12, etc spaces with the pawns till you reach 15. Draw your child's attention to the fact that 5+5+5=15. Last, do 16...and up to 20. You got the idea.

I tried this method with Pumpkin and we both loved it. She really did have fun. It is almost like playing a board game! And it worked too. It is visual which is important in math concepts and logical as well.
Give it a shot and let me know how it worked out for you.


Gena said...


perrymanponderings said...

I like this idea. Very simple but it can be fun for them. It will be a while before I can use it with my kids (I'm due next week with my first) but I will file this away for when I start teaching her basic concepts. I plan on homeschooling.

Little Ladybugs said...

My oldest daughter was in kindergarten last year and they used the same tables. At first I was like what are you doing.. but I swear after a week she was doing math like crazy and she enjoyed it.
Thanks for sharing.

John Deere Mom said...

Great idea...I will try it!