Why do you enjoy math?

Math is fun

Christoph Selter is a mathematics professor and knows exactly what makes it easier for children to access addition, division & Co.: "Boys and girls have to Discover the world of numbers actively, i.e. through your own actions. "Fathers and mothers can provide important support:" The best thing parents can do is include their children in everything that happens in everyday math, "explains Professor Selter, who trains future math teachers at the Technical University of Dortmund and researches what lessons have to look like so that children can safely master math at the end of their school days. Parents advises Selter: "Let your child help with shopping: 'Please get 5 pears!' Or when paying, setting the table, cooking and baking: 'Look, here is the 500, we need that many grams of flour - do you weigh the amount?' "

Learn in everyday life

The pediatrician Dr. Rupert Dernick: "The children learn to memorize orders and use it to train their memory. They practice using numerals and their meanings for real quantities. This knowledge helps them later to grasp quantities quickly." His support tip for preschoolers and first graders: "If parents and child climb step by step while climbing stairs, counting forwards and later also backwards, the child learns a lot too much mathematics. An example: You go: 7 + 3, i.e. 8, 9, 10. Or you go: 7-3, i.e. 6, 5, 4. This makes it clear: With plus it’s going up - to the successor. With minus it goes down - to the predecessor. "The adults should go out"Math in everyday life " However, do not do a course or "event", says Prof. Selter. It is more effective just to do what is natural and what suits the situation. "When a child says 'The men ran home', parents don't start a grammar lesson either. They just say, 'Exactly, the men ran home'." Natural situations are those that are not artificially created by adults: Parents should therefore not send their child out to measure all the flowers completely senseless - unless the offspring absolutely wants to find out how big tulips etc. usually get.

Recognize connections

The possibly still defective arithmetic skills of their offspring need to be addressed sensitively for parents: "If a five-year-old suspects that 3 + 4 = 6, parents don't have to call out 'wrong'", says Professor Selter. "Children think differently: differently as adults, contrary to what we suspect, different from other children. "The alternative:" Ask: 'How did you come up with this?' "suggests. The grown-ups can learn a lot from the answer, for example that that which sounded like nonsense, but was thought rather cleverly A sense of numbers develop, "adults have to ask them meaningful questions and let the children discover the associated knowledge for themselves," says Selter. An English study also showed how much it depends on the "how" of learning math: Through active discovery learning, even children with learning difficulties repeatedly develop skills that are otherwise only ascribed to gifted children. Anyone who helps children to independently and playfully discover connections between numbers and who enjoys it when they reveal that they enjoy counting is on the best way to make math easy and palatable for them.

Focus: homework control

"That's wrong," parents often say. But they shouldn't! "Just think about how you would feel if you were constantly told what you are doing wrong in your job or in everyday life," says mathematics professor Christoph Selter. The expert advises giving positive feedback to the children: "First, tell your child what has already done well. Then you can talk about what still needs to be improved. For mistakes, ask: 'How did you come up with this solution? '". It is important to listen carefully to the child and to consider together whether the result can be correct. If that doesn't work out in the head, mathematicians of all ages can collect evidence together - in other words, simulate the tasks with building blocks or pasta.

Learn math while having fun: Here's how!

Many parents know this: afternoon after afternoon they practice arithmetic problems with their offspring - without any drastic success. In the following interview, the psychologist Helena Harms explains what helps children to really understand mathematics.

How do parents bring fun and excitement to "practicing math"?

The best methods and games are of no use if we adults are convinced that learning has to be difficult. In this respect, I advise parents: really prepare for a game and take practice exercises from life with a wink: "Of my 10 gummy bears there are only 6 left. Who was that?" And: "How much did he take?" Or tell a math story in which your child and his best friends are the main characters: "Jana and Mia went into town. Mia bought ..." Most children love to be so involved in the action.

What if it is still difficult to practice?

Difficulty practicing usually means practicing in the wrong place. You can find the right one by clarifying what is fundamentally lacking in your child. For example, if a child can only solve tasks in the 20 range with their fingers, they will keep miscalculating up to 100. The "finger arithmetic" without a number picture in the head is then his weak point, which has to be worked on - and that as playfully as possible, for example with a "number lottery". Important: Plan only ten to 15 minutes a day for practicing. Stay calm during this time and take the time to miscalculate yourself! This encourages children to do the math. It also teaches them that it is perfectly normal to make mistakes.

What do children who regularly have math problems need?

Some children do not see two full bags of 10s and 5 loose marbles in 25, but only an unclear mixture of 2 and 5. How should these children calculate 25 + 64? That only works according to adult rules that seem pointless to them. It is correspondingly cumbersome to calculate step by step and, because they lack an understanding of the whole, can never check their calculation results. These children need help in researching arithmetic rules and a sense of achievement. Success brings new self-confidence. Children who have already noticed that they are having a hard time with maths also have to learn many times that making mistakes is not a catastrophe, but is simply part of learning to calculate. Only through mistakes do we notice that we have not understood something. So we ask questions that lead to a better understanding.

Researching arithmetic rules - how does it work?

For example like this: Take play money of different colors and give your child three red and five green coins. How many are there? Eight right! And then you set the research task: Are there any more ways to put an 8 out of two coin colors? How many are there in total? Write down everything you find out. Have you found all the variants? By the way, there are seven! What will your child learn from it? How numbers are composed: An 8 can be broken down into 4 and 4, but also into 1 and 7 ...