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Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Ed Zaccaro – 8 Components of Quality Math Education

1)  PASSION

Math is typically taught as “all scales, no music”. By tuning into our children’s passions, we can help them achieve excellence.

It is important to include real life math investigations – helps eliminate the “I’ll never use X” thought.

Make math interesting, challenging, and important.

Example: Dr. Alice Stewart used math (statistics) to show that X-rays of pregnant women had a valid result of an increase in childhood leukemia in the 1950s.

A child’s interest and passions are NOT always their areas of giftedness. Don’t squelch them.

Use math to solve real world problems:

Example: the gold kangaroo coin for $100 that is absolutely tiny because the advertisers used mm to show the diameter.

Example: whalers would promise 1/200 of profits, some hired men would DEMAND 1/300 of the profits not knowing they were getting ripped off.

A way of making math interesting: take boring worksheets and turn them into a game, ie “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”

2) MASTER BASIC SKILLS

3) CHALLENGE AND FRUSTRATION IS NORMAL

We can benefit from our mistakes. Some math mistakes in media:

Wizard of Oz: the scarecrow doesn’t properly quote the Pythagorean Theorem after he gets his brain

Proposition 203 in Arizona (cigarette tax)

Help kids develop GRIT

When working work variables, try the 2-10 method. Example:

Tom paints n cars in t hours. How many cars does he paint in an hour?
Tom paints 2 cars in 10 hours. How many cars does he paint in an hour? (5, t/n)

4) NURTURE YOUR FAMILY’S LOVE OF KNOWLEDGE

Introduce various subjects like math, history, science, analogy, etc. Dinner time trivia is a good painless way to do so.

5) TEACH FOR INTUITIVE LEARNING, NOT ROTE

Example: marble jar

You don’t need to be a math superstar in order to teach math.

6) DEVELOP MATHEMATICAL THINKING AND APPROPRIATE CHALLENGE

Example: Level 1, 2, 3, and Einstein level of math problems.

Kids in primary grades can do much harder math problems than we expect (intuitive learning)

7) SET REASONABLE CALCULATOR RULES

Keep learning basic facts

Teach thinking, not rote

8) TEACH BASES

This forces a thorough understanding of place value

Base 2, 5, 10, etc


Some of Ed’s Books:
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Published inHomeschool Conferences

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