# Questions tagged [primary-education]

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

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### 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 ...
7k views

### 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 ...
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 ...
4k views

### 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&...
7k 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 ...
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 ...
6k views

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 ...
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 ...
3k views

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 ...
3k views

### What are the arguments for and against learning the 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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### 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 ...
3k views

### Traditional “long” method of multiplication versus grid and partial products — evidence of better outcomes?

I'm not a math teacher but am actively involved in teaching my children mathematics (elementary age). I learned the traditional "long" approach to multiplication, but the school systems now emphasize ...
635 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 ...
1k views

### Soft questions for 8 - 12 year olds

I am concluding my second year in mathematics at the university of Milan. I also happen to be an educator for 8 - 12 year old children (as a Scout). Recently I have tried to fill some dead time by ...
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### 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 ...
251 views

### According to Common Core standards, what math skills are beginning Kindergarteners supposed to have?

I remember looking once at what chikdren in Kindergarten were expected to know, and it was quite a bit. I have a young son, and would like to know: What is a Kindergartener expected to know about ...
731 views

### Community College Remedial Mathematics difficulties for students

I've been teaching remedial mathematics for the better part of a decade, and I've noticed a big trend in my classes lately. Many of my students are able to grasp the more complex ideas but still ...
153 views

### How do online practicing websites decide how much practice / repetition is 'enough'?

I've worked with a few online programs that present students with drills / exercises / etc. for a period of time before deciding that they've 'done enough' for the day (e.g. Reflex Math). How do these ...
1k views

### Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Does anyone know of any course called Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching? Where is this course taught? If it's not a course, is there any workshop about this? Or possible a book? It's not knowing ...
2k views

### 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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### Seeking Concise Article on Motivations for and Benefits of Standards-Based Grading

I am preparing for my second year of implementing standards-based grading (SBG) in my 5th and 6th grade math course. I was thrilled with the benefits of using SBG with my students but found that I ...
178 views

### Teaching functions/mappings early

Functions and mappings are usually introduced late in the curriculum, and functions of arity two or more are considered "advanced" (many don't even see them before college). On the other hand, the ...
312 views

### Was math education following a western trend?

After some research on the recent history of math education in the U.S., from the new math movement to the beginning of the 21st century, I understood that the historic flow of the math education ...
849 views

### Are women better math teachers for little children?

Once in a discussion a colleague told me that he thinks: It is better to use women to teach maths to little children including preschoolers and children in elementary school. Also it is better to ...
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### 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. ...
420 views

### Teaching K-8 math in the style of “A Mathematician’s Lament”

Here's a link to the full paper, colloquially known as Lockhart's Lament: Link: https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf In the context of K-8 learning materials that take ...
370 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 ...