How kids learn their own ways of solving math problems

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Washington, Nov 9 (ANI): A new study has revealed that children with learning problems can benefit from being encouraged to find their own way to solve arithmetic problems.

Dr Lio Moscardini at Strathclyde's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, found that children deal better with arithmetical problems if they can use their own intuitive strategies such as using number blocks, drawings or breaking an equation up into smaller, simpler parts- rather than being instructed in arithmetical facts and procedures.

Nearly all teachers taking part in the study, who underwent professional development in children's mathematical thinking before introducing these ideas into their classrooms, felt that their pupils had benefited from learning in this way- and several said they had previously underestimated the children's ability and potential.

"The study also supported the view that maths learning isn't just about acquiring a series of skills but is about making sense of problems and building understanding," said Moscardini.

The children's solutions, which they had not been taught in advance, included for instance, splitting up the sum 48 + 25 by adding 40 to 20, then adding eight and five separately for the total of 73, or answering a question about how many children are on a bus after a group gets on by representing two sets of children with cubes, drawings or fingers and joining the sets together.

The research paper has been published in the British Journal of Special Education Volume 37, Issue 3. (ANI)

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