Rationale for Parents and Teachers Together (PATT) Math Games
Take a moment to remember your own mathematical learning experiences. Was it a pleasure or a pain? How were you taught? Did you have endless pages of worksheets and questions or was it hands-on and engaging? What topics did you study? Was it all addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division? Is the math you were taught in school the math you are using in your work and life? How do you feel when your children ask you for help with their math homework?
The way we are teaching mathematics has changed greatly from how it has been taught in the past. Mathematics is not just arithmetic. It is geometry, measurement, statistics, probability, relationships, and problem solving. Traditional math classes were largely devoted to the memorization of facts and procedures. The teacher would demonstrate the “correct” way to solve a problem and students would memorize and apply it. If they couldn’t remember the rule or fact they were often unable to find the correct answer.
Your child’s math lessons look very different. The math curriculum, today, focuses on building a conceptual understanding of math. What that means is students are given opportunities to explore different ways of getting the answer to math problems. They are encouraged to create and test strategies for solving problems and then share them with the rest of the class. There is no one correct way of finding the answer. There are, of course, more efficient ways and teachers work to guide students towards understanding and applying them. Math is learned through real world problem solving activities and every effort is made to show students the practical uses for what they are learning.
Learning math by doing and exploring takes time and practice. Mastery of facts and procedures is not something that happens over night. It happens through a combination of hands-on exploration and practice. Teachers at Seaview, spend a lot of their math class time creating hands-on learning experiences and problem solving. Unfortunately there is little class time left for valuable practice. This is where parents and teachers together (PATT) comes in. By playing simple, fun math games at home, students are gaining valuable practice time. Just like it is important to practice reading to become better readers. Students need to practice math to become better mathematicians. Games are a wonderful way to gain mastery of math facts because they are engaging, repetitive, quick, and fun. When parents are playing the games with their children they are helping to create positive math moments. The more positive math moments our children have the more successful they will be in future math classes.