Top tips to engage kids in maths this National Maths Week (8-12 November 2021)
Early-age maths competence is the strongest predictor for future academic success, yet many children struggle with maths and it impacts their learning and motivation as they progress through school.
The UK currently ranks seventeenth in the world league tables when it comes to maths competence assessed at the age of 15, with China, Singapore and Macau in the top three places. But what can we do to improve this?
With National Maths Week approaching, it’s the perfect time to consider your approach to maths home learning and how you can support children to see maths as fun rather than feared and loathed so that children can excel at the subject we either loved or loathed at school.
Martin Hassler Hallstedt, PHD, learning psychologist and Founder of Count on me! has 5 tips to support children for maths home learning:
- Make maths fun – as maths needs to be learned, the exercises need to be captivating and engaging. You can help make maths magical and fun by talking maths with children every day and introducing a game element or challenge with your children. For example, painting by numbers, playing bingo with addition, identifying shapes as you walk from school or travelling in the car.
- Study in short bursts – Practising maths at home doesn’t need to require a lot of time. You can incorporate it into almost anything you do for example when cooking, let you child count or weigh the ingredients or collect numbers of leaves when on a walk. As primary school children have short attention spans, keep it short – aim for a maximum of 15 minutes per session.
- Repeat tasks and practice every day for knowledge retention – Practice makes perfect! Children need to be able to do the task every time so it becomes second nature. As they become fluent and competent, confidence grows too. Repetition is key, so it is better to do maths together for only 5 minutes a week, rather than none.
- Think beyond traditional techniques – Think beyond the traditional pure mathematics exercises such as subtraction and multiplication and incorporate a game such as the Count on me! maths app, which has a storyline, adventure and characters to make it captivating and promote learning outcomes. There are endless amounts of free and fun resources available online with videos, games and ideas on how you can practice maths anywhere you may be.
- Reframe your language and attitude to maths – Our language and the words we use affect our children’s attitude. Talk to your children about how amazing, fun and magical you find maths. If we start talking about maths as something positive, children will embrace it in this way too.
He says: “Everyone is a maths person; it is time we embrace it as so much more than struggling to get through textbooks. Maths is around us every day and anyone can learn maths with practice. Maths is one of the most important subjects, yet there are too many adults who sadly have no positive memories of learning maths from childhood. It is time we reframe this.
Our unique approach to learning allows a child to engage fully in adventure, fun and learning maths for 15 minutes a day – a short burst of wisdom is embedded with minimal screen time. This encourages a happier state of wellbeing and is a more sustainable way of learning that results in long term knowledge retention.”
Count on me! is a NEW maths app from Akribian for children aged 6-9 years based on a unique concept of Game-Embedded Teaching (GET) which is proven to accelerate learning. Children can only play the game for 15 minutes per day as the characters in Numberia go to ‘rest’, so it involves limited screen time with maximum learning outcomes.
Research has shown that children who practice maths by playing Count on me! improve their skills by 60 percent , compared to children who do not use the app. Developed using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with advanced gaming technology, the captivating, story-driven game helps children learn and master early maths concepts such as pattern recognition, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and equalities.
Count on me! is now available on the App Store for iPads* and will be available on Android tablets later this year. Count on me! is £9.99 a month, and you can try the first week for free. For more information visit www.akribian.com
- Hassler Hallstedt, M., Klingberg, K., & Ghaderi, A. (2018) Short and Long-Term Effects of a Mathematics Tablet Intervention for Low Performing Second Graders. Journal of Educational Psychology. See link:https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fedu0000264
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2018-2019 The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), see link:https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA%202018%20Insights%20and%20Interpretations%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf
- Early academic skills not behaviour, best predict school success, Northwestern Education, see link:https://www.northwestern.edu/about/index.html
Founded in 2017, Akribian has since developed game-embedded teaching – a new category of games based on the combination of gaming adventures and scientifically proven learning psychology. Akribian’s first game, Count on me, helps children aged 6-9 years develop and learn the basic math skills. Count on me! is based on the latest research in learning psychology, CBT and the published doctoral thesis by Martin Hassler Hallstedt, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Akribian. Akribian currently has employees around the world, headquartered in Lund. Together they work to make learning exciting, easy and effective. The company’s long-term goal is to help children succeed in their maths understanding, to ultimately give them the best start in their lives. www.akribian.com
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