How many times have you heard adults or children say that they are just not a “math person”? Studies do show that men (and boys) tend to be slightly more math inclined; however, this statistic can be beaten and here’s how to do it! (Note to folks who don’t know if they WANT to do something about it – mathematics is how everything works!!).
First, don’t accept it! Turn a feeling of defeat into a triumph. Math phobia comes from math class. Math classes have a lot to cover and unfortunately, this requires rote memorization, drills, and tests which of course are graded right or wrong. If you are wrong often, you start to hate math or fear it. Dr. Eugenia Cheng, a musician and mathematician, has devoted her life work to fighting math phobia and doing a great job through her books, Infinity and Beyond and How to Make Pi.
Second, start connecting math to your everyday life. Using resources from books, articles and you-tubes on fun math experiments, you can explore and expose your youngster to the jazzier side of mathematics. You- tube Dr. Cheng’s zany TV appearances and Ted Talk. Create delicious treats in the kitchen using math concepts. Delve into architecture with Legos. Use games and activities that train the brain – puzzles (200 or 300 pieces for elementary) and Sudoku for starters. Stay away from math software – it’s more of the right/wrong drill exercise. What you want to encourage is the thinking process and a showing of work, which if a wrong answer comes of it, can be checked for error. Math is logical, so fix the logic and you fix the result.
Research shows babies as early as 4 months old have a number sense. With a little effort and change of paradigm from the education and family sector, more of these babies will be seen in future high school and college math classes. They will be a math person and LOVE it.