Questions tagged [primary-education]

For questions about the mathematical education in the first years in school (ages approx. 5-10).

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2
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1answer
185 views

Is there a numerical base that is in any way “better” for simple mathematical calculations than others?

I want to know if there are any numerical bases that are notably well-suited for humans to learn and use at an elementary or grade-school level. I know that different numerical bases (i.e. decimal/...
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6answers
5k views

Is short division taught these days and if not, why not?

tl;dr I'm interested in opinions on short division. Below I discuss my experience dealing with young children and long division versus short division. For those that don't know of it, wikiHow has a ...
9
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1answer
174 views

Equality as “makes” vs equality as “equals”

A problem I often encounter while introducing students to equations is that of changing the conceptual image of the equation symbol $=$ from "results to" to "is equal to". To be more precise: In the ...
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3answers
203 views

Are there standard notations for 'number talks' / ‘math talks?'

I’m a homeschool teacher of a nine-year-old, and we sometimes have one-on-one ‘number talks’ (a.k.a. 'math talks') similar to the activity used in primary school classrooms. Part of this process ...
4
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2answers
162 views

Resources for Learning Multiplication Facts

A recent question (@Namaste) made me realize that it would be good to pull together the best resources for learning the multiplication facts. When seen as a rote memory task, this can turn students ...
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7answers
6k views

Is this primarily a “rote computational trick” for multiplication by 9?

I tried uploading a gif, but was unable to do so. What I can do, is share a link to the gif here. (SE software seems to have allowed me to share the link, but not upload it.) What it shows, ...
6
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3answers
325 views

How do I convince my teachers that a book on maths must focus on conceptual understanding?

I am a senior teacher at this school. We have to select the textbooks for the upcoming session. I am proposing that we have to select books (in maths) that focus more on conceptual understanding and ...
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1answer
97 views

How to address opportunities for improvement with a teacher

My daughter’s 5th grade teacher gives some pretty impossible questions and I don’t think she understands the material she’s teaching. For example, this question has no context from previous questions ...
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15answers
6k views

Explaining why (or whether) zero and one are prime, composite or neither to younger children

There are lots of discussions out there about whether $1$ is a prime number (such as this one) and even about zero (such as this question, though note zero does generate a prime ideal in $\mathbb{Z}$ ...
6
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8answers
2k views

Adding things to bunches of things vs multiplication

"Suppose you bought four boxes of pencils having five pencils in each, how many pencils do you have altogether?" — "Nine." — "How come?" — "Because 4 plus 5 is 9." — "But you cannot add boxes to ...
5
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6answers
296 views

What’s better: number bonds, or addition tables?

I’ve been teaching my kids addition tables (1+3=4, 2+3=5, 3+3=6, etc.) I only just found out about number bonds (1+4=5, 2+3=5, 4+1=5). This seems a better method because it’s mastering all the ...
5
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1answer
178 views

Corequisite remediation for “Mathematics for Future Elementary Teachers”

My university is eliminating its developmental math courses, and moving to a system using corequisite remediation. I am trying to develop a coreq for the first course in our "Mathematics for ...
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5answers
2k views

Are soroban (Japanese abacus) classes worth doing?

The companies that run these expensive abacus programs for children claim it has all kinds of benefits for their mathematics abilities and speed. Apparently it starts with a child learning the ...
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2answers
225 views

How many hours / school years does it take for the average child to memorize the $10\times 10$ addition and multiplication tables?

How many hours does it take for the average child to memorize the $10\times 10$ addition table? How many school years does it take for the average child to memorize the $10 \times 10$ addition table? ...
6
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4answers
592 views

Real-life exceptions to PEMDAS?

What are some real-life exceptions to the PEMDAS rule? I am looking for examples from "real" mathematical language --- conventions that are held in modern mathematics practice, such as those appearing ...
6
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2answers
135 views

Curriculum for Advanced 6th Graders

Next year I volunteered to lead the math class for a group of 6th graders (ages 11 - 12). Here are the pertinent details: About 5 - 8 (U.S.) students, for about 45 minutes, 3 days a week (they'll ...
11
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1answer
242 views

Best practices in teaching math to future elementary teachers

This question is about references in current best practices in teaching math to future elementary teachers at a university level. I am asking it because I do not see any question so far on this site ...
5
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1answer
220 views

How is math taught in elementry school in Finland?

I read on the internet that Finland has the best education system in the world at that in Finland, students are taught to love mistakes and that's how they learn and become smarter. I could not find ...
4
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3answers
217 views

How to explain the motivation of parentheses in addition, subtraction and multiplication?

My kid, 5 years old, knows addition, subtraction and multiplication now, of course, in a basic level. Also he understands that parentheses means "whichever inside shall be computed first". When I ...
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2answers
472 views

Why do some students struggle so much with fractions?

I read on multiple web pages something that implies that that some students really struggle with fractions but I could never find a detailed explanation of why. This question is different from Are ...
4
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0answers
129 views

What effect does giving numerical or written grades have on learning?

When I was in school, pupils were given numerical grades, or the equivalent of numerical grades but disguised as words, on their performance in various school subjects and also behaviour. A key ...
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2answers
333 views

Could schools jump straight into teaching real numbers first then teaching fractions later?

Some students really struggle to learn fractions. Not only that but also, once they've mastered an understanding of real numbers, they can learn about fractions so much faster and more efficiently ...
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8answers
830 views

How to explain fractions to 7 year old kid

I am finding it difficult to convince my kid that 2/4 and 1/2 are same. As per the kid, 2/4 is more than 1/2 since in first case the boy gets 2 candies out of 4 and in second case he gets 1 candy out ...
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1answer
194 views

Fun classroom exercise for mental rotation

I'm training to be a teacher and I am doing a maths lesson later next week. The topic is geometry, the students are 12-year-olds. More concretely, I've been given a selection of exercises that I may ...
4
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1answer
98 views

Making modular arithmetic interesting for school kids

This is a pattern even school kids could discover (when gently pointed to). I never did conciously, and cannot remember to have been pointed to explicitly, neither at school nor later: $$\color{red}{\...
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5answers
333 views

Intuition for the mean for elementary school kids

I was teaching elementary school kids (aged 10) about the mean. The intuition I gave them is roughly as follows: You are trying to find a value such that the sum of all the distances from the mean ...
8
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3answers
554 views

Math Everywhere Activities

Question Does anyone have a nice list of "no effort" activities that parents can employ to promote numeracy? I am primarily interested in K-8 activities. Exposition Often parents ask me about what ...
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4answers
820 views

How to correct visualization of mathematical expressions?

This happens a lot when I try to explain the commutative property, mostly in elementary grade levels. I say 2 + 3 = ? and then the student usually replies with 5. Albeit they're not wrong, it's ...
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3answers
596 views

Third Grade Question — This makes no sense to me

Third grade grandchild had this for homework. Can someone explain the intent here?
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1answer
307 views

Has Benezet's teaching experiment ever been reproduced?

In the 1930's, Louis Bénézet, a superintendent of several schools in New Hampshire made the interesting experiment of teaching no formal arithmetic until grade 6: In the fall of 1929 I made up my ...
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1answer
115 views

How to present the order of factors and summands for the usual multiplication procedure

In the following multiplication example, $$\begin{align} 34\;& \\\underline{\times\;\; 7\;}& \end{align}$$ first one would multiply the units digits, producing the partial product $28$ as ...
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4answers
180 views

Method of Showing Algebraic Work

I have seen two different methods of showing algebraic work when solving equations. I show both of them below for the same simple math problem: \begin{alignat}{8} x+3 &\;=&\; 5 \qquad&&...
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0answers
141 views

Textbooks explicitly showing the injections for the sum of sets

Asking for methods to produce the sum of natural numbers from the disjoint union of sets, it seems that the obvious way is to use the general definition, as coproduct, of the sum of sets. The accepted ...
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1answer
105 views

How to build addition with sets?

I was taught under the New Math, so I should know this, but I am afraid I was tricked. Using the cardinal, it is easy to define a multiplication, as the cardinal of the cartesian product is the ...
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3answers
359 views

Subtraction using Addition (Austrian Method), is it useful to learn this method instead of the usual “borrow” method?

I came across this method to perform subtraction using addition and not using the "borrow" concept, apparently because it is harder to learn it that way. Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
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2answers
793 views

Resources for Teaching Logic to Primary School Children?

What are some books or other resources for teaching primary school children logic?
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5answers
755 views

Why is multiplication taught using cross notation at first?

Alert: I am not a math educator. It seems to me that multiplication is first taught using the cross notation, for example $3\times 5=15$. First question - is that even correct? Maybe not all schools ...
7
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2answers
218 views

“Personalized System of Instruction” (PSI) vs. “Individually Prescribed Instruction” (IPI)

This question may be a bit overly-broad for MESE, but I am hoping to find some responses that can help to fill in my understanding of two similar forms of instruction that had their heyday in the ...
12
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8answers
2k views

How to teach sum of fractions to students?

I think almost every middle school student in my country has learned sum of two fractions in this non reflexive way (I'm included when I was kid), doing the following steps: They calculate the lcm. ...
10
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4answers
522 views

How to teach a weak student?

I am tutoring a 9th grade student. And he is terribly weak in mathematics. He doesn't remember the multiplication tables, can't divide efficiently. Doesn't know how to proceed with solving a ...
4
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2answers
197 views

What's the word for addition and subtraction without borrowing or carrying over?

Is it regrouping? Upon googling it seems regrouping is borrowing or carrying over collectively. What's the word for not borrowing and carrying over? It's supposedly to train mental computation. ...
11
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0answers
261 views

Shanghai math — what is it, and how good is it?

Some schools in the UK are adopting English translations of a grade school math textbook from Shanghai. The book appears to be designed to work with a specific teaching approach, the only specifics ...
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2answers
225 views

The Order in Which Arithmetic Operators are Taught

Should multiplication be taught before addition and subtraction? The obvious answer for most people is 'no'. However, I think there are a few valid points that could change the way students approach ...
8
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1answer
164 views

Multiplying two decimals using (camouflaged) binary representation

This post is largely copied from a response to the 17 Camels Trick MO posting. Here I ask: Q. Does anyone (in any country) teach this binary method of decimal multiplication? It strikes me ...
8
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1answer
168 views

Introducing the concept of variables to kids

Today I had a discussion on how to introduce the basic concept of variables in math using real life examples. We came up with ideas of using boxes containing matches, or M&Ms representing the ...
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6answers
439 views

Motivation in School

I live in Brazil and here we have some problems with teaching mathematics in High School. In some point of the students' life (I think it happens in the 5th grade), they start "hating mathematics" ...
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2answers
355 views

Correctness in learning mathematics

I came to mathematics via physics, in part because of the reputation of physics as allowing "non-rigorous" reasoning. The subject felt more free and less anal-retentive than mathematics. This is not ...
8
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1answer
253 views

Where can I find a set of these 'logic' blocks?

(It will be difficult to answer this question without 'advertising' for a retailer, but I've searched for these several times in the past few years, to no avail.) In Math From Three To Seven (The ...
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3answers
826 views

Does the “how old is the shepherd” phenomenon occur for more relatable word problems?

A friend of mine just showed me this article about the "how old is the shepherd" problem: Link Of course, I'm shocked by the finding that 75 percent of kids give an answer other than "there isn't ...
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2answers
85 views

Reinforcement mathematics thinking of 10 years old child by teaching `patterns`

As Lynn Steen in The Science of Patterns says, I think Mathematics is the science of pattern ...