Read Parents Can Teach Children to Solve Real-Life Problems with Math text version

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Joyce Pollard, Director, Institutional Communications (512) 476-6861 [email protected] www.sedl.org

Parents Can Teach Children to Solve Real-Life Problems with Math

August 4, 2003--Austin, Texas--Through everyday activities, such as cooking or cutting coupons, parents can help their children learn mathematic principles and calm their fears about the subject. The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) offers ways parents can improve a child's understanding of math concepts through dayto-day applications. "Math is something we need to work with, not avoid," said Janice Bradley, program coordinator with one of SEDL's partners, the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin. "We don't want our children to develop the same fears and phobias that we had about mathematics." SEDL staff stress that mathematics is not just memorizing facts. By linking math to real life--such as family road trips and visits to restaurants--parents can help their children practice math skills. While on the road, parents can ask their children, "We've driven 45 miles, and grandmother's house is 130 miles away, so how many more miles do we have left? If we drive 60 miles an hour, how much longer will we spend on the road?" At a restaurant, children can calculate how much a meal costs with a drink and a dessert. They can also make change and determine how much tax or tip should be added to the bill.

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Bradley suggests parents make positive comments about math. For every parent who says math is difficult, there is a child who believes it. communicate to their children that the process of solving a problem is sometimes more important than the exact answer. practice estimation with their children. Good estimation skills help number and spatial sense. don't structure math instruction too tightly. Take advantage of the teachable moment. de-emphasize flash cards. Instead, explore math in real life. Shop the sales. Design a garden. Read a map. Play a game.

SEDL is an Austin-based nonprofit corporation that operates research, development, and dissemination programs focused on improving school performance; strengthening reading, language, mathematics, and science education; integrating technology into teaching and learning; involving family and community in student learning; connecting disability research to practice; and supporting policy development through research.

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