Research has shown that mathematical learning is enhanced when connections are made between different areas of the brain. When using numerical symbols (2 x 3 = 6), a different part of the brain is engaged than when using visual-spatial representations (arranging 2 rows of 3 blocks). Connections are made when both parts of the brain are communicating with each other, leading to improvements in mathematical performance. Additionally (that’s a little math pun), teachers use games and puzzles to make math more fun and engaging. This helps motivate students to practice and develop their numeracy skills. By learning through games, every misstep encourages the players to revise their strategy in order to win. In other words, every mistake counts (no pun intended). Incorporating games and visual-spatial activities into math lessons improves student learning and are even recommended as strategies to help reduce math anxiety.
In the junior school, students in all grade levels enjoy learning mathematics through a combination of numeric symbols, visual-spatial activities, and a wide variety of games. Junior kindergarten has been excited to explore geometric shapes and patterns using colourful toys on a brand new light table. The arrival of Cuboro building blocks in grade 2 has promoted mathematical and geometrical thinking in a playful way. The blocks can be arranged in endless combinations and designs, which develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Grade 4 students have recently learned about comparing and ordering fractions by creating unique models of delicious pizzas. Finally, grade 7 classes have created connections between the left side and right side of their brains by graphing linear equations to produce “stained glass” works of art. They can solve equations and determine ordered pairs, but graphing is where they draw the line! (Okay, that pun was intended.)