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## What Are The Four Pillars Of Math?

The Four Pillars of Math are four concepts that are essential for students to understand in order to be successful in math. These pillars are: number sense, operational sense, proportional reasoning, and algebraic reasoning. By mastering these four fundamental concepts,  students will be able to solve any problem they encounter in math. In addition, the four pillars of math provide a strong foundation for students to build upon as they move on to more advanced concepts.

## The Foundation Of Our Program

At Dropkick Math Academy, the foundation of our math tutoring program focuses on the four pillars of math. These four pillars are essential building blocks for understanding higher-level math concepts. We focus on one or more of these pillars throughout our program in each module. For example, in our first module, Operations, Whole Numbers, and Pirates, we focus heavily on developing a conceptual understanding of both number and operational sense. Without a strong understanding of these operations, it would be impossible to move on to more complex topics like algebra. However, we also touch on the other three pillars in this module. For instance, we use proportional reasoning to explore place value. By the end of the module, students have a well-rounded foundation in arithmetic and are prepared to move on to more advanced modules.

## The Four Pillars Of Math

Let’s take a closer look at each of the four pillars:

Number Sense

Number sense is understanding the quantity represented by a number. It is not the same as numeracy, which is the ability to do calculations. Number sense develops gradually. For example, a baby starts by recognizing that they see one person or two people. By the time they start school, they can count up to 20 or more. They learn what numbers mean in terms of amounts and quantities. This knowledge forms the foundation for learning more complex math concepts later on.

Fractions are an excellent example of a concept that builds on number sense. In order to understand fractions, students need to be able to visualize the quantity represented by a number. For example, if there are four pieces of candy and I eat two of them, then I have eaten half of the candy. Fractions are a way of representing numbers that are not whole numbers, and understanding fractions requires a strong foundation in number sense.

Operational Sense

Operational sense is a critical math concept that refers to a child’s ability to make sense of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and use them in problem-solving situations. When a child is able to develop a strong understanding of the operations, they can recognize the relationships among them and develop systems for computing numbers. This understanding helps to form the basis for the four pillars of math.

Operational sense is not just about being able to do the computations but about understanding when and how to use them. For example, a child who knows that addition can be used to find out how many objects are in a group but does not understand that it can also be used to put together two groups of objects has not yet developed operational sense. Operational sense is a critical foundation for success in math, and children who develop a strong understanding of the operations are well on their way to becoming math problem-solvers.

Proportional Reasoning

Proportional reasoning is a unifying theme in mathematics and is often considered the foundation of abstract mathematical understanding. All four pillars connect to proportional reasoning. For example, in whole numbers, students learn about place value which is based on 10s. In decimals, place value is based on 10s with an added number after the decimal point. In fractions, there are different parts of a whole, and students use visual representations to help understand the relationships between those parts. Lastly, in percentages, there are hundredths and relationships are represented out of 100.

By making connections to prior learning, students see that proportional reasoning is everywhere in mathematics! Proportional reasoning is not just a process but rather it’s a way of looking at the world and solving problems. In essence, proportional reasoning is the consideration of numbers in relative terms compared to absolute terms.

Algebraic Reasoning

Patterns are all around us. They can be found in the seasons, the way leaves grow on a tree, and the numbers we use every day. Understanding patterns is an essential mathematical skill that helps us to make sense of the world around us.

Algebraic reasoning is a way of thinking that uses mathematics to solve problems and understand relationships. It is an essential skill that is introduced in the early years of learning and continues to play an increasingly important role through grades 4 to 9.

Algebraic reasoning can be used to solve problems in a variety of ways, including by using algebraic equations, graphing, and creating tables and charts. It is a powerful tool that can help us to understand complex ideas and make predictions about the future. By understanding algebraic reasoning, we can better understand the world around us and our place within it.

## Learning Skills

The approach used in Dropkick Math Academy teaches children certain skills along with the four pillars to set them up for success in their future education. These include:

Concepts – Concepts are the building blocks of math. If students don’t understand the basic concepts, they’ll struggle to progress. That’s why we focus on teaching concepts in a way that is clear and easy to understand. We want students to really grasp the material so they can build on it later.

Fluency – Fluency is about being able to do math accurately. It’s important for students to be able to recall math facts and equations quickly so they can focus on solving problems. We use a variety of techniques to help students improve their fluency, including games and practice with real-world applications.

Problem-solving – Problem-solving is an essential skill for all students, not just those interested in math or science. Breaking down a problem and finding a solution is a valuable life skill that will serve students well no matter what path they choose. We encourage students to approach problem-solving with confidence and to persevere when they find themselves stuck.

## Mastering The Four Pillars

The Dropkick Math team is committed to helping students master the Four Pillars of Math. We believe that this is the best way to set students up for success in their math education. We have created a variety of resources, such as articles, videos, and games, that all focus on helping students understand and master these four concepts and better understand math operations. Visit our website today to start exploring these resources and learn more about our math help services. By taking our FREE assessment, your child can begin to build a strong foundation in math!

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# How A Positive Attitude Towards Mathematics Can Improve Skills

For the first time, scientists have identified a pathway in the brain that links a positive attitude towards math and achievement in the subject. The study of elementary school students performed by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that having a positive attitude about math was connected to better function of the hippocampus. This part of the brain is an important memory center during the performance of arithmetic problems.

Children’s higher math scores have long been observed in those who show more interest in math and perceive themselves as being better at it. And this study shows that even once IQ and other confounding factors are accounted for, a positive attitude towards math can still predict stronger students’ performance.

Researchers had previously hypothesized that the brain’s reward centers might drive the link between achievement and attitude. The belief was that children with better attitudes were better at math because they found it more motivating or rewarding. But, this new study helps to show precisely how a positive attitude can open the door for children to do well.

From brain imaging results, researchers found that when a child was solving a math problem, their positive attitude scores correlated with activation in the hippocampus. The brain’s activity in the reward center, including the amygdala and the ventral striatum, was not linked to a positive attitude towards math. The brain imaging results suggest that the hippocampus mediates the link between positive attitude and the retrieval effects from memory, which is associated with better problem-solving skills. In short, having a positive attitude can act directly on your memory and learning system.

## Foster A Positive Attitude

Fostering a positive attitude towards math can prepare children for academic success from a very young age. Every child can succeed in math with good practice, teaching, encouragement, and motivation.

Parents are children’s first teachers, and their attitude and behaviour towards math can influence their child’s perspective. Parents need to motivate and encourage a positive attitude towards math outside of school starting at a very young age.

Children need to realize that math is connected to everyday life. Parents can help children by including them in daily activities that require math, such as cooking, keeping track of time, finding symmetry in nature, in comparing prices at the grocery store.

In fostering a positive attitude, it is also essential to teach a child that it is OK to be confused by a problem and all part of learning. Practicing is the first step to building problem-solving resilience in students. Try to encourage your child to experiment with different approaches when solving problems. There is often more than one way to solve a math problem, and teaching them different strategies can help them tackle different types of issues.

## Make Learning Fun

At Dropkick Math, we believe that learning should be fun. Repeated math practice can often become tedious and tiring, so give children assignments in chunks and keep them short. Try different ways of practicing, such as digital games, board games, worksheets, and even physically active games. Our programs offer a fun and interactive way of learning the four pillars of math.

Try to make time for games that can enhance mathematical skills such as algebraic reasoning, number sense, proportional reasoning, and operational sense.

## Praise and Rewards

Giving children constructive and honest feedback should be paired with praise and reward for putting in all the effort despite their results. Let the child know how proud you are of them for working hard and show them that you believe in them. Always start with simple problems and move slowly to the more complicated ones while encouraging them to retry challenging problems they failed to solve. This way, their confidence in math increases and any math anxiety may disappear.

Fostering a positive attitude towards math means making every mathematical experience positive. Whether it is homework, practice, or a test, it means supporting and encouraging children, so they stay motivated and feel confident about their mathematical skills. For more information on our programs, contact us today.

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# How Important Is It To Be Involved In Your Child’s Learning

Even parents who were top of the math class when they were in school may find themselves perplexed by modern math curricula. But, in this time of disrupted traditional instructions, parents and teachers need to work together to support their children’s math learning. This is why at Dropkick Math, we believe that parent involvement is vital to the success of a child’s math education. By being actively involved and setting high expectations for your child, you can help guide them towards having high values of doing well in school.

## Get Involved

One of the main problems is that most parents simply don’t know how to play a more significant role in their children’s math education. This situation can be complicated because many parents struggle with math themselves. This can make it more difficult for them to help their children and often inadvertently pass on their math anxiety.

What students discover, observe, and learn outside the classroom can benefit them greatly. In real life, they can get practical education applicable to real-life situations, and in school, the instruction focuses on theoretical and the abstract. Parents can help to merge these two realms.

An easy way of interacting with your child and teaching them that math is used in everyday life is to talk aloud as you work through daily tasks. Thinking aloud and asking questions can allow your child to hear how you think which will help them develop the essential skills needed for solving problems. For example, if you were eating cookies, count how many you have, ask what happens when you break them apart and talk about their shape.

When trying to stay involved with your child’s learning, there are some steps that parents can take:

• staying in touch with the child’s teacher
• encouraging a child to talk through their math assignments
• embracing informal math thinking, such as playing games that focus on patterns or counting

## A Stressful Time

Educators say to remember that we are in a uniquely stressful time for parents, children, and educators. Many families are still struggling to make remote classes work which means many children have a varying level of support.

Both parents and teachers should be encouraged to talk with one another, not just about the subjects that may need work, but about the student’s skills. Parents should also take time to speak to their children about math. If parents don’t understand the math themselves, they can ask their child to explain it to them, adding to a child’s self-confidence.

## Parent Engagement

By learning math with your child, you can become a role model for them. The Ministry of Education recently released information on “Parent Engagement,” which said, “Parent engagement matters. Study after study has shown us that student achievement improves when parents play an active role in their children’s education, and that good schools become even better schools when parents are involved…”

## Practice Perseverance

If you are a parent that is struggling to be engaged in your child’s learning, it is worth the perseverance. Getting parents involved can be productive for everyone involved, and an educationally attentive home setting has been proven to impact student achievement positively.

Learn how our programs at Dropkick Math can help you learn alongside your child. Our programs focus on the four pillars of math and allow the parent and child to work together in a fun and interactive learning environment.

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# How To Easily Apply Mathematics In Everyday Life

If you take a quick look around your home or out on the street, you will quickly come to realize that numbers are everywhere! From the numbers and minutes displayed on a clock to the sequences of numbers on the license plate, there are various opportunities for children to apply their mathematical skills in everyday situations, whatever their age.

Making real-life connections to numbers can help children with their counting, estimating, adding and subtracting skills. Many don’t even realize they’re using math as they count the number of seconds before they hunt for a friend in a game of hide and seek or play hopscotch on numbered squares in the school ground.

There are many opportunities to demonstrate to children how the need to use mathematical skills is all around us. In the supermarket, while cooking dinner, or on the walk to school all offer many chances to speak about math. And with a bit of nudging, it’s also a chance for children to show you what they already know and how they can work problems out by themselves. This can help build the child’s confidence based on what they’ve previously learned.

## In The Supermarket

Taking your child to the supermarket can provide a wealth of opportunities to use their mathematical knowledge. Start by looking at price labels, special offers, and ask them to help calculate a discount on reduced items. Show them how to use multiplication to determine the best value when looking at multibuy offers. Involve younger children by using scales and weighing some of their favourite fruits or vegetables. Also, try to use cash to familiarize your child with handling money and calculating change at the checkout. This is a great way for children to start to understand money and budgets, and it can be fun for them to try estimating the value of the final shopping basket at the checkout.

Algebraic reasoning can also be practiced in the supermarket. Although it may seem like a foreign concept to many children, believe it or not, we do use it regularly. For example, you will need to use an algebraic equation to figure out how many hamburgers you would need for a party if you wanted two hamburgers for every adult, one hamburger for every child, and an extra three just in case.

## Cooking At Home

Try cooking with your child at home using simple recipes that utilize several mathematical skills. Choose a recipe such as muffins that produces a larger amount than the number of people in your family. Have children rewrite the recipe by halving amounts or doubling them. Children can also learn to weigh out ingredients to the appropriate amounts and learn how to read varying increments on a weighing scale.

## On A Field Trip

No matter if a child is going on a daily walk around the house or a long car journey, they can begin to understand the use of numbers in the world around them and start to develop mental dexterity. For example, ask them to keep count of silver cars and red cars simultaneously, or use a pedometer to record steps on their regular walk to school. Younger children could be asked such questions as “how many shoes are on the shoe rack?” This can help to encourage children to use unique and complex skills such as counting in twos.

While out on a walk, children can also be encouraged to find patterns in nature. Depending on their age, the more complicated the pattern they may be able to find. This can help them develop their skills in geometry.

## Number Sense

To understand math deeply, the brain needs to form connections. So seeing it in real life can help children form these connections between abstract math concepts and real everyday life. When math becomes more relevant for students, they become more interested, engaged and willing to participate. By incorporating mathematics in everyday life, you could help to develop your child’s number sense.

The Ontario mathematics curriculum for grades 1 to 8 states that “In integrated learning, students are provided with opportunities to work towards meeting expectations from two or more subjects within a single unit, lesson or activity. By linking expectations from different subject areas, teachers can provide students with multiple opportunities to reinforce and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a range of settings. Also, the mathematical process that focuses on connecting encourages students to make connections between mathematics and other subject areas.”

This helps explain why the curriculum focuses less on memorizing facts and equations and focuses more on critical thinking and problem solving about mathematical concepts. Parents can help extend this learning at home by making the connections between a child’s activities and the math concepts.

## Career Choices

Some children are focused on the fact that their favourite career doesn’t have anything to do with math. Therefore, they are not motivated or engaged in learning mathematics. So, it is a great idea for these children to get them looking into the courses they will need to take to earn their degree/diploma in that field. Researching the career more to figure out what is actually required in that position often shows students how math can help them get into the career they choose. Once they see the math behind the career, they may be more motivated to excel to go into this profession in the future.

At Dropkick Math, we understand children need to encounter math in everyday life to help develop their fundamentals in the four pillars of math. Our programs focus on algebraic reasons, operational sense, number sense, and proportional reasoning. With a fun and engaging learning environment, your child can build on their math skills and gain the confidence they need to excel in mathematics. Learn more about our programs today!