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Tuesday, December 4, 2018


This article reveals why children struggle with Mathematics as a subject and Maths word problems in particular. It reveals the health conditions responsible for low performance in Mathematics and how to help children to overcome challenges they have with tackling word problems.
It is a common knowledge that many children dislike Maths word problems. This is not because they hate Mathematics in particular but because of the difficulty they experience in translating word problems into Mathematical statements. 

Word problems involve a lot more than just solving calculations. Maths word problems can also be challenging for kids who have difficulty staying focused or controlling impulses. Some students are good at memorizing Mathematics methods but may not understand the phrases and concepts used in Maths word problems.
Word problems can be tricky. 

To get the right answer, the student has to be able to interpret the words, figure out which mathematical operations to use and then perform the calculations correctly. A mistake in any of these areas can lead to difficulty in solving the word problem.
Many mathematical and algebraic operations include the ability to solve word math problems for school children. So, why is there such a focus on these aspect of Mathematics? This is because Maths word problems take the concepts learned in classroom and apply them to real life situation. These word exercises also develop children’s logical, analytical and abstract thinking skills as well as help them to develop their problem-solving abilities.

However, Maths word problems can be a struggle and helping children to understand them is not always easy.
Find below some ways to help your child tackle math word problems with ease:

1.) Identify the keywords. Helping a child understand the keywords that are associated with different mathematical statements in the word problem can help guide him or her in the right direction to establishing the Maths expression or equation that will be required to solve the problem. For instance, “is” or "was" usually indicates an equals to "="  while “less than” usually means a subtraction problem and “product of” means you will need to multiply. "More than" means "addition", "twice a number" means 2 times the letter used to represent the unknown number e.g. 2x, "half of reciprocal of a number" means 1/2x, etc.

2.) Regular practice: In order for a child to master Math word problems, he needs to practice regular. Simply throwing a word problems at him once in a while is not going to help him much, however. How can a child become a better word problem solver? By solving more problems, of course!

3.) Ask the child to read through the problem once and then circle the important words in the word problem as he reads it again. This can help the child to maintain focus and avoid making impulsive decisions which can lead to poor interpretation of the problem and wrong solution.
Common Reasons Why Children Struggle With Maths.

For someone to do well Mathematics, many skills are required. These include language skill and memory skill, as well as the ability to picture or visualize things. If your child is doing fine in other subject areas and mainly seems to be struggling with Mathematics, then dyscalculia may be the cause of his or her problem. Below are some common reasons why students struggle with Mathematics:

a.) Dyscalculia: This is a brain-based condition that makes it hard for someone to work with numbers and number concepts. It may not be as well known as dyslexia, but it is not so uncommon. Research suggests that anywhere from 7 to 14 percent of people have this condition but they don't know it exists.
Dyscalculia is not a sign of low intelligence. In fact many people with this condition often do well or extremely well in other subject areas.

Note: Not all children show the same signs of dyscalculia. Some may have a hard time learning to count numbers or figuring out how many items are in a group. Others might struggle to remember math concepts or use math-related vocabulary like “greater than” or “less than".

b.) Dyslexia: This common condition is mainly known for its effects on reading skills. But it can also affect spelling, writing, speaking and math skills. If your child is having trouble learning to count and doing word problems, dyslexia could be the cause. Many kids are suffering from both dyslexia and dyscalculia.

c.) Math anxiety: Children with math anxiety are so worried about doing math that it lowers their performance in math tests and examinations. Some children may have both dyscalculia and Math anxiety.

An article by: Oluyemi F.M

Credit: Understood.org, Sylvan learning.com


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