Monday, August 5, 2013

Math is NOT for Checkbook Balancing

I've lost track of the number of times I've been told that math is for balancing your checkbook, not that I was counting, of course. It is probably testament to the dire methods of teaching math that our fore fathers and mothers suffered through that math is now consigned to this anachronistic task. Anachronistic because most people today have instant access to their bank accounts through cell phones and so on so the need to "balance" the bank account using basic arithmetic no longer exists.

Saying that we need math to balance a bank account is like saying that we need to be able to read and write so that we can write checks drawn upon that bank account. If t his were true there would be no creative writing activities, no poetry., no language exercises in school that helped children play with language and learn all the wonders of alliteration, onomatopoeia and so on.

Hmmmm, that would make the English language arts just like math at the elementary school level wouldn't it!

Math is the wondrous study of all things quantitative and relational in this world and a good many other things too. The study of math by young children should should include exciting topics such as the numerical relationships in the Fibonacci sequence, the way multiplication facts are related to addition facts, the patterns made by fractions are the symmetry in the place value system we all use.

We need to captivate young children's attention in math just like we use exciting stories to fire their imaginations and motivate them to read on the English language arts.

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