When it comes to the left-brain vs. right-brain myth, there’s a lot of confusion out there. People seem to think that the left side of their brain is responsible for all logic and reasoning, while the right side is in charge of creativity and emotions. But this isn’t actually true! In reality, both sides of your brain work together to process information, even when studying mathematics! But, which one is really in charge? Keep reading to find out!

Many people believe that you need to be left-brained or a logical or analytical thinker to be good in mathematics. Whereas, if you are right-brained or a creative and free thinker, you are doomed to struggle with math operations. However, research has proven that success in math is best when both halves of the brain work together.

It is easy to see why math is a logical and analytical subject with a left-brain tendency. But educators now suggest that including a little more “right-brainedness” into a math class can help many students strengthen the connection necessary to get stronger in math.

The left and right hemispheres of the brain communicate through the corpus callosum, a fibre bridge that crosses between the two sides. Anytime an interaction between the hemispheres of the brain happens, this connection strengthens. So, when using both hemispheres of the brain in mathematics, a student can perform better than simply using one side of their brain.

There are some physical exercises that can help to strengthen the nerve cell pathways between the two sides of the brain. These types of physical movement can help the brain hemispheres to communicate across the corpus callosum. Anytime a child can encourage this interaction between the brain’s hemispheres, they will strengthen this connection.

It is recommended that students get up and move every 20 minutes or so, so this makes a perfect time to try a couple of cross-lateral exercises to force the two sides of the brain to communicate. Try having your child do the following daily before engaging in math activities.

- Touch the right elbow to the left knee, then repeat with the left elbow to the right knee. Keep alternating for 12 sets.
- Place the left thumb and the right forefinger together while the left forefinger touches the right thumb. Pivot them back and forth, similar to the motion in the “itsy bitsy spider” nursery rhyme. Make this move for 1 minute.
- Throw a large ball against a wall with both hands and catch as it bounces back. Play this game for 2 minutes.

Contrary to what many people believe, mathematical thinking requires creativity. When working with complex mathematics, it is sometimes the creative thinking that gets a student to the logic of math and vice versa. Seeing a problem in a different way using visualization and creatively reconceiving it, including doing drawings, can help a student find the solution to the problem they’re working through.

The brain is built much like an information superhighway, with both sides supporting one another with every task performed. So, when children are taught something new, both sides of the brain work together as a whole to help them achieve their goals. While the aspects of mathematics can require a more logical approach, sometimes, some creative thinking helps them get to the answer.

Many children think that math is fun. However, some have problems understanding the subject and believing they can also enjoy math. The next time your child is struggling with a math problem, remember that it is ok to be creative. They can use their right brain to come up with new ideas and solutions and then use their left brain to analyze the data and put everything together. If they are still having trouble, don’t worry – there is help available. Dropkick Math can partner with you and your child to help them understand how their left and right brains work together to achieve mathematics success. Contact us today to learn more about our math learning technique and engaging game-based student programs!

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