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Mastering Math

We may not realize it, but we are all infused with mathematical practices from the moment we wake up and throughout the day. Our alarm goes off and we check the time. We measure our coffee, check our finances, and use multiple numbers in some form throughout the day. As adults, we successfully apply mathematical practices in our everyday lives. Students are expected to master the same practices for math competency.

The NYS Next Generation Standards states, “A lack of understanding prevents a student from engaging in mathematical practices.” So, how can parents help foster understanding and make math an intricate part of their child’s life?

A Positive Math Mindset

According to the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, “Parents with a positive attitude towards mathematics are more likely to incorporate mathematical activities and language into the home environment. This additional exposure to these mathematical concepts might create an advantage for these children in their mathematical performance.”

Studies from Stanford University School of Medicine found that, “Having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the hippocampus, an important memory center in the brain, during performance of arithmetic problems.”

Although a positive attitude helps, according to the National Council of Teachers of Math, factors such as conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence and adaptive reasoning are also needed for math proficiency.

Math Vocabulary

“Teaching and learning the language of mathematics is vital for the development of mathematical proficiency.” Explicitly teaching math vocabulary can greatly increase conceptual understanding. Word problems can be tricky and math vocabulary can be trickier. Many key vocabulary words have multiple meanings. Misconceptions and errors will occur if the wrong meaning is used in a math word problem.

For useful math vocabulary flashcards, check out: www.vocabulary.com

Math in Everyday Life

  • Use your imagination and create a math problem from everyday activities.
  • Cooking and baking with your child is a great way to introduce measurement and proportion.
  • Gardening is a terrific way to connect nature and math as you practice counting and measuring.
  • Telling time is a life skill and a first grade standard. Practicing telling time with both an analog and digital clock significantly increases a child’s understanding of time.
  • Let your child pay at the store and use cash! It’s an important way to introduce the concepts of money.

At Prep Academy Tutors, we are committed to instilling a positive attitude as we support your child, while teaching mathematical concepts and proficiency. Our certified teachers are experienced in math instruction from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Contact us to learn more.


*Written by our staff author and teacher Maryann Moriarty. Maryann has 15 years of teaching experience in New York City and is a contributing author at the Educator’s Room.