Questions tagged [primary-education]

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

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25
votes
4answers
2k views

Books about elementary mathematics written like a good undergraduate textbook

I've never seen any really good expositions of elementary mathematics (middle school or earlier). A good college-level textbook, written for people with an interest in mathematics, reads like a novel ...
46
votes
3answers
6k views

How do blind people learn mathematics?

I am interested in how blind people learn mathematics at any level, but particularly before college. Math is often taught using a lot of visualization; how does this work with blind people? My ...
38
votes
17answers
9k views

How to explain the flipping of division by a fraction?

This question is inspired by @DavidButlerUofA's discussion of "$\div \frac{2}{3}$ as $\times \frac{3}{2}$" in "Are fractions hard because they are like algebra?" Q. How can one best convey to ...
35
votes
23answers
6k views

Imbuing a six year old with a sense of mathematical wonder

My six year old started school a few months back and he's loving it. This first year is more about social skills than anything academic and I like that approach. But we're spending some time at home ...
51
votes
14answers
14k views

Student: Why not use a calculator?

The kid I am teaching math (subtraction for large numbers right now) just said this is all too easily done by a calculator, why don't we use it? Well, I did tell him that you can only learn more ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Teaching a very enthusiastic and bright 5 year old

I was asked to give extra lessons to a 5 year old boy who loves math (he says he likes 3 sports: football, swimming and math). However, I have never tought at this age and I am unfamiliar with the ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Teaching 100 x 100 times tables

First, why bother: I teach and play math with my son in the mornings. It's a lot about letting him enjoy learning, so the curriculum (my intentionally vague vision of how we'll proceed) is flexible. ...
7
votes
10answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Fun games for children [closed]

I'm looking for fun games for children (from 4 to 12 years) used in learning math concepts. They can be offline or online games.
28
votes
10answers
2k views

What are the arguments for and against learning multiplication table by heart?

I think, a lot of students are bothered by learning multiplication tables by heart, in particular when it comes to numbers greater than 10. Why should one learn (or not learn) these things by heart?
15
votes
5answers
977 views

Cost and benefits of compartmentalization in k-12 curriculum

This is a soft question perhaps not well suited for the format of the site but I'm interested to hear opinions from this community on this topic. K-12 mathematics textbooks (understandably) divide ...
36
votes
12answers
6k views

Is it advisable to avoid teaching “multiplication as repeated addition”?

I've had this discussion with a couple of friends. I argued that teaching multiplication as repeated addition isn't a good idea because it doesn't help children differentiate between the two ...
48
votes
14answers
5k views

Should we say that fractions “are” or “represent” numbers?

I never gave this a second thought until a friend who works in education brought it up the other day. Should we say that a fraction like $\frac{1}{2}$ "is" a number, or "represents" a number? In ...
22
votes
4answers
771 views

A Series of Unfortunate Examples!

All of us know, when teaching, the "right" choice of examples is important. Though, making the "right" choice is one of those things that are easier said than done. Here is the story of a series of ...
19
votes
11answers
1k views

How can I familiarize elementary school students with infinities larger than $\aleph_0$?

Cantor's discovery of the existence of more than one infinity was a revolutionary change in human knowledge. He defined the notion of counting by bijections and showed that one can use infinities as ...
18
votes
12answers
2k views

Explaining the order of negative integers

Today I happen to have an interesting discussion with a primary school kid. I asked him "Which is the smallest one - digit integer?" He instantly replied $-1$. I told him that he's wrong and the ...
15
votes
4answers
23k views

When should a kid have memorized the multiplication table?

To contextualize: I know someone who is ten years old, and needed to use repeated addition to compute $4 \times 8$, i.e., needed to calculate it as $4 \times 8 = 8+8+8+8$. Question: By what age ...
28
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the rationale for the absent (+) in mixed fractions?

Why are students taught to represent one and a half as $1 \frac{1}{2}$ rather than $1 + \frac{1}{2}$? This mode of expression seems standard at least throughout North America. I believe that it is bad ...
10
votes
4answers
267 views

Problems sets for instruction

What resources are available for any grade level K- 12 that are aligned with the Common Core Mathematics Standards and Mathematical Practices that have sets of problems or problem banks that can be ...
10
votes
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, ...
7
votes
1answer
149 views

Subtraction Methods in School Mathematics

I have studied long ago different method for subtracting numbers, for instance the borrow method or the Austrian method (I hope I am using the right names; I am not an English native speaker and these ...
22
votes
1answer
506 views

Is there a Piagetian age at which proofs can be comprehended?

I am wondering if there is literature on the developmental age (pre-adolescent?, adolescent?) at which the notion of a "proof" can be understood? I am less interested in mathematical proofs and more ...
10
votes
4answers
443 views

Interesting Physical Implements for the Classroom

I'm interested in gathering a list of physical objects of mathematical interest for occasional or permanent display in a classroom. Mostly I'm interested in things that are wall-mountable, but any ...
9
votes
6answers
447 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" ...
15
votes
13answers
4k views

How to teach binary numbers to 5th graders?

I already tried the direct approach, starting with "this is how it works". That turned out ok but took too long and was boring for all of us. My second attempt was using the twofingered alien. This ...
12
votes
2answers
359 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
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
582 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
237 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
votes
1answer
145 views

What is a good reference for (this way of) generating a logarithmic scale?

I am interested in answers to the title question without parentheses, but I found this method below rather interesting, and I am hoping to find it published somewhere, along with a teacher's guide ...
14
votes
3answers
616 views

The interplay of memory and mathematical performance

As mathematicians and mathematics educators we very often see the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. Our calculus students are certain that they are masters of Calculus because they took the AP exam. To ...
7
votes
5answers
628 views

What are some common fallacies students make when they learn $X$ concept?

What are some common mistakes students often make, which may seem logical at first? I'm a student myself, but I'm curious of what some of the most frequent mistakes which happens. I'm thinking of ...
6
votes
4answers
271 views

Fun resources and games for advanced elementary school math students?

My younger cousin (2nd grade USA) is advancing very quickly in his current math class. The school does not have much to support him in moving ahead in the material. What websites (preferably game or ...
5
votes
2answers
275 views

How to estimate the time needed to solve a basic mathematics problem

I want a way to know the time needed to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. Examples $15 + 10$ $500 - 132$ $10 \cdot 10$ $20 \, / \, 10$ Is it possible to create a ...
1
vote
1answer
107 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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
342 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 ...