Below, I discuss one of the five important ways that parents can help their child enjoy mathematics and do well in the subject. (1) Have a positive attitude towards mathematics, (2) Emphasize reasoning over memorization, (3) Reading is impactful, (4) Ask openended questions, and (5) Play mathematics games and puzzles. Ask openended questions Mathematics may viewed as a subject that always has one correct solution and one best solution strategy. In order for students to develop conceptual understanding for procedural fluency, building mathematical reasoning is essential through seeing multiple strategies for approaching problems. Openended questions can develop children’s number sense and help them be adaptable, problemsolvers, and good communicators. Openended problems encourage discussion and exploration. They show that mathematics can involve creativity and also demonstrate how mathematics is relevant and realistic. For example, one openended question is how many ways can you represent 28? There are a number of ways to do this and below are just a few. Students can develop number sense, estimation, and mathematical reasoning through openended questions. They can also help students be curious about the world and learn how to problem solve, which is the basis of good mathematical thinking. Making estimations, predictions, and thinking about other ways that daily things can be done can help students do well in mathematics. The table below has examples of openended questions that parents could discuss with their child. Mathematics is not a spectator sport and children should get used to the idea of being an active learner for mathematics.
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Micah StohlmannChristian, author, and professor of mathematics education. Archives
April 2023
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