Why Your Kid Needs Mathematical Confidence and Mental Math
Math is Omnipresent
Kids fear Math. It’s not an incorrect statement as that’s the general conception. Your kid could be one among those kids. Math is part of STEM education, and its concepts are helpful in coding for kids and robotics for kids.
So, love it or hate it, math is essential. It is not something limited to books and schools. It is present everywhere. We may not be able to spot it quickly, but it is there.
When you are shopping, you are making calculations. When you set an alarm clock, you calculate the number of hours. When traveling, you calculate the distance, time, and speed to reach your destination.
The realization of math’s omnipresence should compel you to encourage your child to explore the math that surrounds us and engage in STEM learning activities like robotics for kids and coding for kids.
Building Confidence in Math
Your kid must develop an aptitude for a subject that is as ubiquitous and important as Math. A significant portion of jobs in the future will arise in robotics, a STEM field with broad applications for mathematics.
Robotics applies geometry to understand different robotic parts’ sizes, shapes, and functions. Robotics applies statistics to gather and test data about robot prototypes and their performance. Similarly, robotics uses algebra to determine relationships and patterns between concepts of speed, time, etc.
The question to ponder about, how does your child feel about mathematics? Do they have the confidence? Mathematics is not just about being able to do arithmetical calculations. For your kid to be confident in Math’s, they would also need the following:
1. A Problem Solving Mindset
2. Logical Thinking
A problem-solving mindset means a tendency to question things, investigate a problem from several angles, and come up with solutions. Mathematical problems usually have only one correct answer. One reason kids may fear math is that we are always taught to be accurate.
Even though there is only one correct solution, there can be several ways to arrive at it. Having a problem-solving mindset is about that. It is about understanding the problem and applying one’s thinking to arrive at the correct solution.
To develop that problem-solving mindset in your child, you can start by encouraging them to persist with a problem and not worry about the correct answer. It makes them risk-takers who are not afraid of venturing into the unknown. Encouraging your kids to communicate mathematically is another way to improve their problem-solving ability. Prod them to share with you how they arrived at the solution and why they think theirs is the right answer.
Logical thinking is the ability to think methodically about a problem, understand relationships between different things, and move in a linear direction to arrive at the solution.
Computers Vs. Mind
Technology is far more advanced today than it was a few decades ago. Today’s computers can perform complicated calculations and solve complex mathematical problems. Consequently, the computing power of computers has improved drastically.
Thus, the premium on the ability to perform fast calculations has subsided. Speed and the time required to solve it may not be that important today. It is the thinking behind the problem that matters.
Many well-known mathematicians display a propensity to go slow and think deeply about a problem to come up with a solution. Speed is not their forte. And that’s where the problem-solving mindset and logical thinking we illustrated above come in.
The point we are trying to get at is that it is essential to be strong in mental math despite the presence of calculators and computers. Kids must be taught to do maths in their heads as the calculator they use is only as good as they are.
Once the calculator displays a result, it has to be interpreted and applied by a human in a given situation. It requires thinking, not computation power. The accuracy of the numerical result is determined by the person who entered the number in the computational device.
Say you have sent your kid to buy some groceries from a nearby supermarket. He fetches all the items and gives them to the store clerk at the counter for billing.
The computer will calculate the amount to be paid. But the kid has to determine whether that amount is reasonable. Is the supermarket overcharging or not?
Practicing mental math has several benefits, such as :
1. It sharpens memory
2. Kids become comfortable working with numbers
3. Improves concentration
4. Exercise for the brain muscles
And here’s what you can do to help your child become stronger in mental math:
1. Encourage your kid to perform simple arithmetic calculations in mind.
2. Try finding real-life situations where some mathematical concept can be applied
3. Making them solve puzzles to make it fun
As a last note for parents, we want to say that most things in life can be quantified and looked at from a mathematical point of view if one wants to. Therefore it would be wise not to ignore your kid’s possibilities by developing confidence in mathematics.
Start with creating ideal STEM learning environments at home for teaching robotics and teach coding where your kids can practice robotics for kids and coding for kids. It will be the perfect launchpad for their future.