# Questions tagged [primary-education]

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

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### Is there a virtue to learning how to compute by hand?

I have been professionally tutoring a wide range of students (from elementary school through graduate school) for many years. Most of them are from the United States. I generally focus on helping my ...
150 views

### Which works better for learning 6 * 7 = 42: saying “six sevens are forty-two”, or “six times seven equals forty-two”?

When memorizing and recalling the times table, I learned to say "six sevens are forty-two", and always wondered what it would be like to learn to say "six times seven equals forty-two&...
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### 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?
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### How early and how much can you teach kids and teenagers about vectors?

I have met kids and teenagers who I believe are capable of understanding the concept of a vector. However, I have only heard of a select number of schools who teach it to young people. Here's my main ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### How to explain the difference between the fraction a / b and the ratio a : b?

I found it difficult to explain the difference between the fraction a / b and the ratio a : b. This subject is for pupils of grade 5. So is there a real difference between them and how to explain the ...
93 views

### What notation do they use for mathematical expressions in Polish schools?

I thought of something like Polish notation all by myself and asked the question https://cs.stackexchange.com/questions/111067/could-we-define-the-decimal-notation-of-a-natural-number-as-a-series-of-...
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### Resources for Unit Rates

I am currently mentoring my little brother in mathematics. There is an issue with the pedagogy of unit rates. For example when given the following concept " 11.00 U.S. Dollars to 20 Planet X ...
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### Teaching Mathematics to a Younger Sibling

I always wanted to teach my siblings mathematics, and one, ten years of age, is particularly eager. For the purposes of specializing recommendations, I will add he can use arithmetic up to ...
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### Mental visualisation ability test for each age?

What are standard tests for mental visualization (image, representation) for kids? So far I know about mental arithmetics and spatial rotation tests. Is there any other way to check mental vision ...
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### 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 ...
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### Is there an arithmetic book similar to “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Siegfried Engelmann?

I have found Engelmann’s book (mentioned in subject) to be extremely effective. Is there an equivalent to this book for teaching Arithmetic? I believe the overall approach or method is called Direct ...
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### Future educators writing nonsense questions

I teach future elementary educators mathematics content courses. We play a lot in class with tasks like "Write a variety of word problems which would require the student to multiply 2.3 by 1.4&...
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### Teaching Approach at primary, middle and higher level

I would like to have a comparison or a big picture of how and why the approach for teaching math varies from primary (or pre primary) to middle to higher classes. I understand at every level one ...
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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 ...
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### At what age are most children able to convert between rational fractions and decimals?

At what age are most children able/taught to convert between rational fractions and decimals? For example Convert 0.25 to a fraction consisting only of whole numbers. What is 3/4 expressed in ...
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### Concrete way to teach addition and subtraction of fractions

I am teaching 4th-grade kids. The topic is Fraction. Basic understanding of a fraction as a part of the whole and as part of the collection is clear to the kids. Several concrete ways exist to teach ...
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### What are other strategies for a 7 year old for addition and subtraction besides counting fingers?

We recently received feedback from our 7 year old daugther's school teacher. One of the things mentioned was that our daughter still counts her fingers when she does addition and subtraction. The ...
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### Have there been attempts to base early math education on category theory?

The New Math curriculum built math eduction on set theory. Have there been any attempts to do something similar with category theory? I was fortunate to grow up in a relatively enlightened ...
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### 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, ...
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### Fun set theory for kids

Are there some fun results in set theory to set as landmarks while introducing to kids? For example, while introducing graph theory to kids, I could explain isomorphism via a pentagon and pentagram, ...
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### Confirmation bias in math education

Confirmation bias is a quality of human mental processes which makes us tend to think in terms of positive examples and tests that would confirm our working hypothesis, rather than negative examples ...
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### 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/...
165 views

### The spatial thinking course for primary school - what to use?

We're planning to run the project for first two grades of the elementary school kids, in which we want to facilitate the spatial thinking development along with the regular arithmetic course and make ...
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### 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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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
217 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 ...
171 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 ...
368 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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### 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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### 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 $\mathbb{Z}$ ...
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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...