How a better understanding of the improvement areas help students to learn math better

A few days back a parent with an 12 yr old daughter asked if we could help out with his daughter’s work in mathematics – she has consistently been performing below average for the last five months. Parent has no idea what to do. He had got her a variety of different books, introduced her to Khan Academy on the computer, made a timetable that ensures she practices math every day for 30 min- but nothing was working.

 

We first tried to understand the areas of struggle from the parents.
Two of last five months she tried to focus on Linear Equations in Algebra. So does she struggle with remembering the rules of isolating x? Is she unable to interpret word problems into equations? Are there specific word problems that are difficult for her versus others?
We needed to know these things to help her out efficiently.

 

Unfortunately, parents had no idea! It happens with most of us. Doesn’t it – we start to worry about the symptom, without knowing the cause.

 

What did we do? We quickly whipped up a diagnostic test for Linear Equations and had the daughter take it on a Saturday. It took 25 to 30 minutes to complete the test.
Since this was an online test, it was quick for me to compile the data.

We now know the particular areas she was struggling in: Equations with Parentheses, Denominator and Distance/Time.

 

To drive the point harder, we had ten more students who were struggling with math. They took the test, and indeed their results were quite different. Almost everyone had unique areas of improvements.

 

Armed with data from the diagnostic test, we were able to give concrete recommendations to the parents of each student. Where to focus, which problems to practice more, the helpful content to learn and daily practice.
In just two weeks, they were comfortably out of the ‘below average’ zone and had discovered that they could also, be great at Math!

 

This is the power of data – it demystifies the process of learning, it tells you where your child is struggling and what exactly you can do to help.

 

Want to run a diagnostic test for your child? You are at the right place. We at Immerz carefully designed the diagnostic math test for grade 6 and grade 7:

Click here to learn more about grade 6 level test.

Click here to learn more about grade 7 level test.

A doctor’s hat – An effective approach that will help your child succeed

Imagine you are feeling ill and your doctor has asked you to go through the diagnostic tests. You are poked with needles, stuck in uncomfortable machines and finally, you pray that the result doesn’t show anything bad. When they come in, you cross your fingers and go back to see your doctor, where you await judgment. Is it a viral or something worse?

“Just a small viral” you received the judgment. You are now relieved and follow the doctor’s instructions to take a tablet 2 times a day.

 

Now imagine the role of your doctor in the same scenario. What’s the different? The crucial difference between the doctor and the patient’s approach to diagnostics is a sense of empowerment. The doctor believes that diagnostics will help him learn something and that he can convert that learning into action to lead to you getting better.

 

Now think about the math test that your son/daughter took. As a parent, did you:
Cross your fingers and await the judgment of the test?
Dread the day of the result, oh something could go wrong?

 

Parent should put doctor’s hat on and think about the test as a way to determine what you should work on next with your child. Parent should look forward to see a test to learning more about how to help your child get better in the next test.

 

The key finding in all the latest research is that your children (and yours) brain is amazingly malleable. Upon applying effort (more commonly known as practice) the brain will change and your child’s abilities, in that sphere will increase.

 

Each of us has the power to be better than we were yesterday. When we start to believe it, we are empowered to approach each diagnostic with the zeal of a learner and would say – “If I can know where my problem lies then I can fix it.”

Not like a patient who would say – “this test will tell me if I am smart or dumb”.

 

A good diagnostic test can be very useful. And so does the parent’s approach. The right combination of both will help your child take brave steps towards the improvement.

 

As a one step closer, we at Immerz carefully designed the diagnostic math test.

Click here to learn more about grade 6 level test.

Click here to learn more about grade 7 level test.

Why is my child struggling with Math? (Part 2)

Let’s keep up with tradition shall we, Breathe! Remember, you are not alone and if you haven’t done so already read the first article in the series.

 

Now let’s examine the second big reason for why your child might be struggling at Math, speed. Before we look into solutions lets spare a thought for the poor Math teacher, she has between 20-40 unique children in her class and is tasked with the impossible, getting them all through the prescribed syllabus. With this settings, (i) its highly unlikely that all the children have mastered all the topics they were supposed to (ii) it in equally unlikely that all of them will keep to a preset pace. Is it any wonder at all that your child is struggling?

 

Everything in math is linked to the other. I remember when I first started conducting personalised classes I realised that the reason a student of mine wasn’t able to solve the 9th grade algebra problems was that he had not mastered LCM, something he should have learned 3 years ago.

 

Personalisation is the rejection of the assumptions teachers (and parents) make and adapting the the learning to the needs to the children vs forcing them to adapt to some arbitrary standard. Before we get started on this journey of personalisation though, we have to first start by fixing our mindset.

 

Carol Dweck, in his book Mindset talked about the growth mindset, i.e. the belief that our brains are malleable and that if we apply effort we can learn and mold them to our purpose. If we have a growth mindset, you would say “Ok so let’s find out where he is struggling and work together with him to fix it”, instead of “my son is in the 5th grade but can’t solve 3rd grade problems”. Optimism and not despair.

 

With a growth mindset we can allow ourselves we can now begin to personalise. Here are the steps:

  1. Diagnose: First we have to figure out what are the concepts our child has mastered. This is the starting point. We have to look at the data dispassionately and use it to guide our next step (for a faster diagnosis look to Immerz)
  2. One step at a time: Now that we know what are the holes in his learning we can start plugging them one by one. Every day just focus on getting your child better than he was the day before. Ideally you’d want to use a learning tool that helps your child grasp the concepts intuitively as described in first part
  3. Make it a habit: Warren Buffet credits a lot of his success to compound interest. That means just getting better, even if it is by a small increment, but getting better everyday.

As you will notice most of these steps are to be walked by your child, you have to be the believer in his ability to get better till it becomes a habit.

 

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, if I could do it for my class of 30 students, you have to believe you can do it for one. And yes, the student who I mentioned didnt know LCM in grade 9 went on to get a distinction (equivalent of A+) in Math in his board exams (equivalent of SATs).

 

We just have to believe in their abilities.

 

Happy learning!

Making Math Come Alive – Classroom Experiences

Classroom Experience by Amrut Dhumal – Founder, Immerz

One of the common protests you hear as a teacher, or indeed a parent, is “Why should I learn Math, I don’t want to become an engineer?” or “I am going to be a chef, I don’t need Math”.

 

When faced with this challenge we could resort to that old favorite “Because I told you to” or we could go the extra step to show the child that Math is indeed all around them. We took the latter approach in my Math class and you can too.

 

I had the pleasure of being the Math teacher to a class of 30 9th graders. I suppose I should not have been surprised that they were asking me such questions. I had taught them to always question things until they understand them.

Surprise or not, “I don’t need math” was still a problem I had to solve. Luckily the way to solve these problems lay in the challenge being posed to me.

 

“You want to be a chef, ok, as a chef here is a recipe for soup. It serves 4 but you want to make it to your restaurant to serve 50, how would you do it?”

I had to follow their interests and show them how math was required in problems they solved. Soon I was rewriting the word problems, we called them math stories.

 

Once I had their interest, the rest was easy, they stayed engaged and worked through the drills because they knew that what I was asking of them wasn’t unreasonable but would help them achieve their dreams.

Once you get into the swing of it, it is easy and you don’t have to do this for all problems. Show your child a few and he will understand that math is not an inconvenience but an enabler for his ambitions.

 

Have you tried this out with your child? If yes, please share your experience in the comment section.

 

I am glad to tell you that it was just a start.

Since last one year, we have focused to design and revolutionize the math learning path into a math app – Immerz.

 

Sign up and let your child fall in love with math.

The learning revolution and making math come alive

200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution heralded a new world, a world where only 26% of the global population is now able to produce enough food for the entire world. While it may be difficult for us to imagine, we have lived through a technological revolution of our own – the Digital Revolution.

 

So what’s next in this epic journey of humankind?

A learning revolution.

 

Yes, it is possible to train the brain to learn any useful skill or any piece of knowledge that exists in our universe – given the right stimulus and the right practice. Right Stimulus is personalized to each learner’s level – it is just right and given at just the right time. Right, Practice is a deliberate and consistent practice which helps the brain absorb the stimulus and literally make neural pathways that cement this skill firmly into place.

 

At Immerz, we believe that each and every person born on this earth, is brimming with infinite learning potential. And our mission is to change the world by unlocking this potential – for everyone.

 

We decided to start with most popularly hated skill around the world – Math. As it happens, it is also one of the most important skills to learn – it is the language of the universe and everything in it – from the movement of celestial bodies to everyday personal finance.

 

Angel dislike math

 

The key challenge for us was to help people find the motivation to practice Math every day.

 

Amrut (Founder, Immerz) dug into his years of teaching Math at Vishwajyot High School for initial ideas.

Throughout all these years, he experimented many real-life challenges for students. For instance, one challenge was about calculating the height of the school building using Trigonometry. Or calculate the distance the ball would travel if you threw it backward from a moving cycle. It uses principles of parabolic motion.

Students are working to calculate the distance ball would travel

 

The result was amazing. The combination of real-time math problems, cooperation (within the group) and competition (in between groups) motivated even the most demotivated students to pull up their socks and dive into the wonderful world of Math.

 

There it was. A proven solution staring right at our faces – making math come alive by building math games, puzzles, and missions embedded in real life.

 

Since then, the Immerz team refined, layered, and built upon the basic idea to take its present form – A well-crafted math learning path for students.

 

What are you waiting for? Sign up and get access to one of the best math learning platform – Immerz.

Why is my child struggling with Math? (Part 1)

First, take a breath, you are not alone, Maths is the one word that sends shivers down spines of even grown men and women. It’s not your child’s fault, not your fault, and probably not even your child’s teachers fault.

 

As a Maths teacher let me tell you this, together we can help him/her stay engaged with maths to the level where your child wants to practice it and eventually fall in love with it.
But for that, we need to reorganize how learning happens.

 

We like to start math with counting 1, 2, 3 normally using numerals. Grade 1 teachers often tell proudly that “children in my class can count from 1 to 20”.
If you have a 5-6-year-old who has been taught maths traditionally, raise two index fingers up and ask the child how many, odds are that he will reply, 11, which is what the numeral looks like instead of 2.
The traditional school methods are like chasing a wrong goal – “Showing without really understanding”.

 

The right route is to start out with concrete objects and only once your child has mastered the concept to move on to abstractions.

 

If you can’t remember your child at age 6 let me give you another example. We can all remember when we were introduced to the unknown X, in algebra class. It was there we put down our pens and declared “Maths isn’t for me”.

 

This would have never happened if word problems have been taught before solving and try to master a large bunch of weird looking equations.

Student first needs to understand the concept, then see where it might come up in their lives, and then they will happily master rules of solving it.
You see, by starting with the concrete, the word problem we have shown them that algebra is useful, and then shown them tricks of how to solve for X.
By starting from concrete we engage their curiosity and always answer the why for them.

 

We took care of all tiny such things when we were designing the Immerz math learning path.

This was the part 1 of this article series. Read part 2 here.

5 reasons why math is the single most important subject

All subjects are equally important, most of the parent says. But every parent acknowledges that the math is more just an academic subject.
 
Data also confirms this. Only on Google search, just two keywords – “math” and “mathematics” were searched more than 2.4 crores in last 2 years. And there are thousands of other queries on mathematics were asked to Google.
 
Parents know the value of math better than anyone else. Let’s look at 5 reasons why math is the most important subject for parents.
 

  1. Mathematics is everywhere. No matter what job needs to be done, it is tough to complete it without mathematics. Whether a workplace, business or finance, whether musicians, accountants, fashion designers, or mothers use math in their daily job. It is essential for decision-making in the fast-growing digital world.

 

  1. Mathematics is a way of thinking – using abstract thinking to solve problems. Mathematics helps to develop the logical and critical thinking. It equips the child with uniquely powerful ways to describe, analyze and change the world. Albert Einstein once said, “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas”.

 

  1. Mathematics is the language of science. Mathematics provides tools for understanding science, engineering, and technology. Even the study of our body system, memory function, happening or curing of disease, waking, sleeping etc. all are mathematically dependent.

 

  1. Mathematics is good for academics. Those having a flare in mathematics have upper hand in the academics.

 

  1. Children need math. Children are as chaotic as a volcanic eruption, but as they grow, they need to learn patience and discipline. Patience is precisely what math teaches us. It also teaches us curiosity; for example, why is this rule used here? Why would that number be negative? Why is that equation set up like that? These are questions children will learn to ask if they are taught math.

 

If you are one of the parents who knows any other reasons why math is important, then please write it down in the comment.
 
If you are the parent who wants to provide your child a better platform to learn math, subscribe and get access to the Immerz math app.