Practicing Math Skills Early in Life Is a Brain Changing Event

Thanks to Will Summer who inspired this post with a retweet to me.

Seems researchers have previously studied the differences in math skills among children vs. adolescents and grownups. Dr. Vinod Menon with has done new research on early math training that focused on kiddos who where merely one year apart.

Turns out that in one year of math, the brain changes quite significantly!

You can integrate early math learning into just about anything.

Daughter is heavy into Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle. This is not a math book. Nor does it pretend to be. But I’ve found a way to use it to develop math skills.

When we arrive at the page with the children, we practice counting the kids. First in one direction, then in the other – as direction matters to kids. It isn’t inherent that if you count one way you’ll get the same number as if you count the other way.

Sometimes we’ll count the top row of children and add it to the number of the bottom row. We can practice the commutative property by adding 5 + 4 = 9 and the adding 4 + 5 = 9.

Eric Carle's Illustration of the children in Brown Bear, Brown Bear - line and counting added by me

As an alternative twist, we’ll count and add the kids on the left page to the kids on the right page. This one gets fun, because that little blond girl is half and half!

The children in Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Carle, words by Martin - line and counting inserted by me

So we can now add fractions and practice the commutative property at the same time!

What else?

With Dr. Menon’s research, we now know how important it is to get started early with math learning. What other things can you do to start teaching math skills early?

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