By Joan Brock. 6th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, December 06th, 2020 - 03:38:55 AM.
Ive read many books on personal finance, and a common thread that runs through many of the best ones are vigorous reassurances that it is possible to make good financial choices and even invest intelligently for retirement without doing math. It would appear that many people avoid learning basic skills to take care of their personal finances at least partially because they are afraid that personal finances require too much math for them. Architecture, medicine, personal finance... all of these are held up as practical fields that require lots of math. When teachers and parents do this, their intentions are pure. After all, what could be better than motivating students to study by connecting the subject matter with the real world? Unfortunately, we often do students a disservice by over-emphasizing the math required for certain endeavors.
Playing is a great way to learn math. I like miniature golf and billiards for learning about angles and force. Of course this may sound like Physics, Newtons Law of Relativity. And it is, but there is also no better way to learn geometry and algebra than with a practical application. What could be more practical than learning as you play? Wow, heres another real life example for learning math. I like playing games. You name it; board games, card games, strategy games. If it challenges me and tests my intellect and problem solving capabilities, I like it. Games like Nim, checkers, chess, mancala, Stratego, Battleship, Risk, etc. help develop logic sequences and strategy. Games like Uno, Skip-bo, Set, Rummikub helps children develop their ability to see patterns. Games like cribbage, gin rummy, Scrabble actually help children practice addition and multiplication.
Douglass Academy traces its origin to 1869 when it opened for the children of freed African-American slaves in what is now downtown San Antonio. In 1902 it was named for the anti-slavery orator and statesman. The school was relocated as a high school to its present site in 1915. It became a junior high in 1932. Beginning in 1970 Douglass served as a school for grades 3 through 5. In 2002 while students attended the former Burnet Elementary campus on Barrera St. the school expanded to include pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. In 2004 6th grade was added making the school a pre-kindergarten through 6th grade academy. Students and staff returned to their original campus when the construction project was completed in August.
So lets look at the other side. Is it possible for people to learn math in everyday life; running their business or household, doing projects, etc.? Is this possible? I believe it is and it is already happening without anyone being aware of it. My daughter professed to hate math, yet she is doing math everyday on Neopets. When I asked her about it, she said that it wasnt real math. So what kind of math was it? I think she meant that it wasnt school math. I met an airline pilot who went into great details about the calculations she did in her head in order to fly the plane. Later she professed that she hated math in school. She wasnt good at it. She wasnt even capable of balancing her own checkbook. When I pointed out that the calculation she did to fly the plane was math, she was adamant that it wasnt because she wasnt any good at math in school. She said "Its just a formula that I plug numbers into." Marilyn Burn relates a similar story about an interior decorator who could price out the cost for a complete room, but also felt that she wasnt any good at math. These are people who couldnt do school math but are doing the math that their everyday lives demand of them. They probably learned this math on the job; hence they dont relate it to school math.
Day 3 I recap the process they have been through over the past couple of days. I set some boundaries and expectations for the conversation we are about to have. Respect Gets Respect is our mantra. What happens next is amazing. Giggly is long gone, replaced with a real desire to listen, learn and understand. A valuable conversation ensues. Every once in a while the kids need to be redirected and reminded about the boundaries. Good facilitation is the key... and I am great at that. And practicing new skills makes perfect... which is exactly what the kids are doing. Lots and lots of great questions. To be honest, the kids ask the kinds of questions that many adults strive to sort out in their own efforts to understand and appreciate gender differences. A significant amount of time was spent on the theme, "Why cant they be more like us?" The boys wanted the girls to be more like them. The girls wanted the boys to be more like them.
Now, imagine the same child having access to an online math learning environment. By paying a monthly subscription, sometimes as little as $20 a month, your child will immediately have access to a system where expert tutors will explain these math topics in an engaging and easy to understand way. If you child didnt fully understand the first time they watched an online tutorial, they can watch it over and over again. Many online learning environments have examples that tutors will go through and also give you some example to go through at your own pace, so that you can complement your childs learning. For many parents, having access to an online learning system to help their child with math is a lot more cost-effective than getting a personal math tutor.
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