Learning and formulating maths teaching strategies, Mathematics

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Before going further, let us repeat an aspect of learning which is useful to keep in mind while formulating teaching strategies. A child who can add or subtract in the context of some objects, or pictorially, will go beyond this stage, to the abstract stage, very slowly. She needs to keep coming back to the use of concrete objects or pictures to confirm her solution and to become sure of her framework of understanding. She needs to practise addition and subtraction prepared in meaningful contexts. For this purpose, whenever the occasion arises naturally, we should utilise it. For example, laying the table, dealing with money, keeping track of luggage while travelling, etc, all these situations require her to add or subtract. And then there are games like marbles or ludo, which give the child several opportunities to use language related to addition and subtraction. Similarly, for a 7-yearold child, answering "How much have you come down by?" or "How much do you go up by?" in 'Snakes and ladders' may be very interesting. But, while getting her to solve problems in these situations, we must be patient, and not hurry her into begin the answer. Give her enough time to understand what has to be done. Let her talk about the process she is going through. Let her slowly build her understanding. This will help her to gain confidence in her ability to add 1 subtract. It will help her to accept adding and subtracting as very natural activities, not alien concepts.

At this point, let us explicitly state an aspect of verbal problems that has been mentioned by Raza (in Example. At present, children are exposed to. Word problems only after they have 'learnt' the formal algorithms for adding and subtracting. And then, many of the problems they are asked are very complicated and distant from their own world. For example, there are questions for Class 3 children that involve 'officer's salary' and 'miscellaneous items', terms that-the children don't relate to. Further, they also know that the teacher wants the "correct answer". The usual teacher doesn't encourage them to take time out to understand the situation given and what is required. So, rather than trying to understand and analyse the problem children look for key words or phrases that will instantly indicate to them what they have to do. For instance, if a child finds 'how much more' in a problem, she adds up the figures given, even if the problem requires subtraction, since 'more' indicates addition

This is why it is necessary to introduce children to carefully and simply worded verbal problems right from the early stages on. The problems could be made more complicated as the child grows more familiar with the concept. For instance, the augmentation model of addition could be presented to a child much after the aggregation model, and, in fact, even after the partition and comparison models of subtraction, in the context of familiar objects.


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