Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Studying

Ok, so after that brief interlude for something personal, let's get back to discussing math and education.

A 1996 study indicates that students can lose up to a month of information during long summer breaks. I can't find the initial study, but it is referenced in several articles here, here, and here. Ignoring a political soapbox about year-round education, what can you do if your student isn't a strong math student and is heading to harder math classes in high school? Or entering Algebra 1 in 8th grade?

The main thing is to keep the students working on SOMETHING throughout the break.

They can go to KhanAcademy and play some of the games there. And a parent could set themselves up as a "coach" and monitor the student's progress. The games start with basic adding/subtracting and move up through Pre-Algebra and Algebra skills all the way through some skills required in Calculus.

Parents can go to Kuta Software and download free worksheets, which will print out with an answer key.

But what else can you do? Because, believe me, I know, getting kids to sit down and do worksheets in the summer is a bear.

Take the kids grocery shopping. Teens and pre-teens (or are we calling them tweens now?) are not too young to learn basic life skills. They'll have to go shopping some day, why not learn how now? Have the kids figure out if the big package of 24 rolls of paper towels is really a better deal than the three pack (don't show them the price per unit on the sticker, make them figure it out). Even if they use the calculator on their phone to figure it out, they are still using a problem solving skill and proportions whether they know it or not.

Set up challenges that orient around logical problem solving. Today, I saw a beautiful representation of this with a pre-schooler. The pre-schooler had a hula hoop. An adult stood inside the hula hoop and had his arms down near his sides, but out from his body a little bit so the hoop would not easily go over his body. She could get it over one arm at a time, but not both. She had to figure out how to manipulate the hoop to get it over his body. That was an excellent exercise in logic. Watching her fail and NOT GIVE UP, just keep trying different things was really eye-opening. Little kids have this ability to solve problems and we lose it somewhere along the way.

Make the kids do a simple math problem before they can do something they want to do, like jump in the pool. "What's 3x5? Great, now jump in the pool!"

Keep it fun, and light and work math into their every day lives. That will help them catch up when they get back to school in August or September.

1 comment:

  1. Studying in summer is very beneficial for the studies as we can prepare ourselves for the next session.