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# New Techniques Make Math Fun for All [Preview]

With the right lesson plan, teachers can turn struggling students into budding mathematicians. The secret is carefully guiding their adventure in numbers

Image: CELIA JOHNSON

### In Brief

Formula for Success

• Pure discovery-based math lessons can cause cognitive overload and therefore do not work as well as those in which a teacher helps a student to navigate a problem's complexities.
• Studies show that JUMP Math, a guided-discovery program the author developed, lifts students to much higher levels in math than most standard methods while shrinking the gap between weaker and stronger students.
• The confidence that students gain by succeeding in math can bring broader benefits.

• Overview

• Overview

• Overview

#### The Science of Handwriting

I still vividly remember the day, 14 years ago, when a tall and painfully shy sixth grade student named Lisa sat down at my kitchen table for her first math lesson with me. Lisa's principal had recommended her for a free after-school tutoring program I had started in my apartment with several friends. Although I had asked the principal for students struggling in math, I was not prepared for Lisa.

I had planned to boost Lisa's confidence by teaching her to add fractions. I knew from previous experience as a tutor that children often develop anxieties about math when they first encounter fractions. Because my lesson involved multiplication, I asked Lisa if she had trouble remembering any times tables, but she stared at me blankly. She had no idea what multiplication meant. Even the concept of counting by a number other than one was foreign to her. She was terrified by my questions and kept saying, when I mentioned the simplest concepts, “I don't understand.”

This article was originally published with the title For the Love of Math.

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1. 1. tbordofsky 07:24 PM 8/28/13

I am a Californian and working parent of 3 girls age 4,8, and 11. I first read about Jumpmath a little over two years ago in a NY Times article. I bought their work books and started using them with my older daughters as a supplement for their school math. I have gone through the workbooks with them on average about 3-4 days a week for about 10 - 20 minutes each kid one at a time. While I do need to pressure them to sit down with me to do the work, once started they do enjoy it and usually thank me and are pleased with life at the end of the session. I on the other hand love doing Jumpmath with my daughters and feel it ranks among the best (and most consistent) quality time we spend together. As a benefit I have never had to help them with their assigned math homework from school as with the skills they learned in Jumpmath, they are able to easily do this independently. Last week their STAR (California state end of year standardized testing)relults came in the mail. My older daughter received a perfect score and my younger daughter was also close to the top. Both my daughters self identify as naturally smart in math but I know all credit goes to their hard work with the Jumpmath workbooks. Mr. Mighton, Thank you so much for your work!

2. 2. karadzm 03:29 PM 9/2/13

While reading this article, I couldn’t help but think that there are so many talented mathematicians who did not use Jumpmath - it sounds like this method helps students to like math but how does it compare with other methods that have been proven to work in the past?

3. 3. jyclau 01:45 PM 9/3/13

@karadzm, perhaps that's true, but it isn't the "talented mathematicians" that we need to worry about; it's the kids who do not have a natural feel for the topic.

For pre-schoolers I recommend games that allow them to visualize the abstract concept of numbers; games that allow them to *play* with numbers.

For an example, checkout my post:

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