How to Train the Brain to Understand the Transitive Property

Remember the ol’ “if A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C” deal? At parties it’s a great line to drop. In math, it’s officially called … cue music…

The Transitive Property

Saying it is fun, teaching it is curious, learning it can be weird.

Grownups think it’s intuitive. But to a kid, it isn’t. It takes experience and experimentation to learn all the bits that we think are “common sense.”

The transitive property is really thinking things through. Starting from one place and moving along through another and then arriving at a third place.

There are many ways to help kids with this learning. Word problems simulate thinking stepping stones. But they can be rather stressful. If you do it through play, you reduce the stress that they face and give them skills they need to tackle advanced thinking, forever.

This video shows a nifty “toy” from Discovery Toys that can get kiddos using those brain stepping stones.

Notice the flow is

  1. Choose the number tile with the question number.
  2. Read and answer the question.
  3. Correspond the answer to the letter in the answer box.
  4. Put the number tile with the question number in the corresponding letter box.

Thinking through from question number to answer letter while avoiding the pitfalls is the challenge.

Have you played with these? How do you train your kids’ brains for the transitive property?

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