x y z is as Easy as 1 2 3

A recent study just published in the journal Developmental Science looked at the ability of children aged between 4 and 6 to do basic algebra.  It was discovered that children of these ages, before any formal lessons have been taught, have a natural ability to do basic algebra. They used the “Approximate Number System” or “number sense” which is one’s natural ability to estimate the magnitude of a group without relying on language or symbols.  Our innate ANS is said to probably be an evolutionary adaptation which helped humans to survive in the wild.
What is interesting is that if […]

How to Help Your Kids Study for Maths

School is well and truly back and teachers are already thinking about writing the first round of reports. This means that students are currently sitting their first round of assessments and getting lots of feedback on how their learning is progressing so far.
Preparing for a maths test requires a different skill set than preparing for an assessment in any other subject. Here’s a guide to what your child needs to do to achieve success in their maths assessments this year.

1.    Devise a list of topics to study
Hopefully a list of topics and skills has been provided by your child’s […]

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    Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

As I’ve said in a previous post, this year I’m teaching two Year 7 Maths classes at my new school. Aside from teaching the mathematics, the biggest focus of my lessons so far is settling my students into my routines for the classroom and also helping them get organised.
Organisation is an important and key life skill and those that exhibit good organisation have better chances of success in life. In my classes I focus on not only everyday organisation of materials but also on the organisation of thoughts on the page.
So what can you do to assist your child […]

Should I get a tutor for my child?

As the school year begins and the first assessments are right around the corner, more and more parents start to wonder whether they should get a tutor for their child on top of the other investments they’re making in their child’s education.
Back in the 90s (!) when I was at school not many of my peers had a tutor, and if they did they kept it pretty quiet. These days though it’s not uncommon for students to have at least one tutor, and some for almost all their subjects once they’re in Year 11 and 12.
Tutoring maths has been […]

Can you afford NOT to teach your child early maths skills?

This year, make it a priority to include mathematics in your family life and in the education of your children. By doing so you will be creating foundations for your children that will improve their earning capacity by the time they are adults.

Studies show that even when you account for differences in gender, education and socioeconomic status, early learning of mathematics strongly influences the success and earning potential of an individual.
Let me explain that to you again.
We might think that those children who have the opportunity for a “better” education – more individualised teaching, the best school in the […]

Getting your kids motivated for the new school year

A lot of research has been done on motivation, and in particular how to spark motivation in ourselves and others. One of the most challenging tasks for parents and teachers is to find a way to spark motivation in our children and students.
When it comes to motivation there are two types: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation is when our motivation is encouraged by external sources. Usually we do A to achieve B. B motivates us to get A done. You might put your hand up for an extra project at work so that you receive the bonus you’re […]

Are Australians Scared of Maths?

I’ve just been lucky enough to enjoy a European winter holiday in Prague, Germany and down the Danube to Budapest. It was all about Christmas markets and tasty treats and maths. Yes that’s right, maths. You see I can’t seem to go anywhere without noticing the mathematics in my environment, and it doesn’t help that my husband is also a maths teacher.
For example, last holiday we took this photo outside the famous Sagrada Famiglia Church in Barcelona.

Sure it’s a beautiful piece of art, but that’s not why we took the photo, we took the photo because of the magic […]

What you can REALLY do for your child’s education

In the last week the education news in Australia has either been about backflips and frontflips about funding, or it has been about Australian results steadily declining in international PISA testing.
It all makes us feel a bit helpless. As individual parents and teachers, there is little we can do to influence funding decisions or to ensure that future PISA results improve.
As with everything in life, there is only ever one person you can change, and that person is you. Changing your own attitudes, beliefs and actions will very likely have an effect on those around you and you will […]

Dinner Time Maths – Discount Sign FAILS

Dinner time is the perfect time for conversations and the perfect time to engage with your children. The idea of dinner time maths is to add a small spark of maths to the conversation. Discuss a mathematical idea as a family or solve a problem together.

Tonight’s dinner time maths discussion revolves around discount sign FAILS.

Start by showing your children this picture.   Ask them what is wrong with the sign and ask them if they can figure out what it should say. This one is just to get them warmed up. This next discount sign fail will allow for a […]

Educating Australian Children for the Asian Century

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about how to best position Australia in the burgeoning Asian Century. Much of the talk is about our relationship with Asia and how to best place our economy. Even more of the discussion is about education and the unique position that our children will find themselves during this period in history.
Many schools are planning to include the study of languages such as Mandarin as a priority ahead of the more usual languages of Italian and French, and I agree this is a great idea. There is also a call […]