5 Math Games to Overcome Algebra Woes

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The votes are in: parents would rather teach their children how to drive or educate them about alcohol and drug abuse than help with algebra homework.
But parents aren’t alone in their terror of polynomial equations — 8th- and 9th-graders surveyed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress would eagerly give up Facebook and video games if it meant no more algebra.
Education expert Dr. Richard Bavaria recommends parents treat algebra like reading, a fun chance for quality time with your kids.
“We read with our kids on a fairly regular basis — story time, bed time, read-aloud time. Why shouldn’t we get the same enjoyment doing math with them?” says Bavaria, who has spent 40 years immersed in the education field.
To encourage parents to enjoy helping their middle schoolers with their dreaded algebra homework, Bavaria suggests making math fun with the following games.
1. Keep score. If your kids enjoy sports, board games or playing cards, emphasize the role of score keeper. When watching sporting events, play up “statistics manager” and help them track the stats of their favorite team or player.
2. Use manipulatives. Manipulatives are tangible objects allowing kids to visualize math problems. Tailor it to the interests of your child by using their preferred foods or framing arithmetic questions around their hobbies.
3. Guess the number. Get your whole family to participate by each picking a number while everyone takes turns guessing. Ask smart, educational math questions, like “Can I count to your number by twos? Is it divisible by three?”
4. Use real money. Teach kids to guess what coins are in your pocket by giving them clues, such as four coins that equal eight cents. If appropriate, go to your bank, and have the kids help balance your checkbook or fill in deposit slips.
5. Pick a “number of the day.” Instead of a word of the day, choose a number. Challenge your kids to find several ways to reach the number by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Reward them with little prizes for participating.
“We can’t allow our math insecurities to get in the way of our kids’ success. We can even estimate our kids’ progress by using Fit4Algebra — a free screener that measures how prepared students are for the subject,” notes Bavaria.
Fit4Algebra, developed by tutoring service Sylvan Learning, is available online at www.Fit4Algebra.org. Learn more about navigating the math crisis at www.sylvanlearning.com.

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