Making Math Connections For Easy Learning

Making Math Connections For Easy Learning

The growing interest in inquiry-based learning has led to content and outcomes being meshed together, making connections across science and mathematics outcomes. The more you delve into the science syllabus, the more mathematics you see.

Making connections within the mathematics syllabus is also another teaching strategy to combat the idea that “there is too much to cover”. Mathematics itself builds on foundational skills in number, often referred to as Number Sense. Without number sense, many students will find it difficult to understand more complex concepts as there is no base knowledge to build on. These foundational concepts should be given more time in the sequence of teaching, most other concepts build on, or from these.

Visualizing the connections in mathematics as mind maps, flow charts, infographics, connected webs or networks (see example reference links at the end of the blog) can be a useful way to assist you in planning your teaching sequences and making connections clearer for students in your class. Here are a few ideas for the connections that can be made and therefore these outcomes can be taught simultaneously or at least in a sequential manner.

Kindergarten - Connecting whole numbers, patterns, and algebra, 2D space

Children learn the basics of counting as well as basic shape names at this stage. A great way of making connections is to ask them to count the sides of each shape, or count the number of shapes. 

Primary School - Grades 1 and 2

Connecting addition and subtraction, patterns and algebra, area

In the first two years, students develop additive strategies such as counting from a number other than one, using doubles, and skip counting to solve adding the numbers tasks. This same concept of skip counting also appears in patterns and algebra to introduce number patterns e.g. 2, 4, 6, 8… This understanding can then be connected to solving area tasks by skipping counting the number of rows in an array or rectangle e.g. 4 rows of 2 can be counted as 2, 4, 6, 8. These additive strategies and patterns are a precursor to multiplicative thinking.

Primary School - Grades 3 and 4

Connecting multiplication and division, volume, 3D space

By the time students reach grades 3, they now have the opportunity to start building on the connections made earlier. They can develop multiplicative ways of working with numbers as efficient strategies for solving tasks. Students can use knowledge of known multiples such as 2s, 5s, and 10s to solve tasks that involve multiple layers in volume questions.

Primary School - Grades 5 and 6

Connecting multiplication and division, fractions and decimals, area

Now, students extend their understanding of finding areas of shapes by exploring triangles. For students to develop the understanding they need experience with physical manipulatives (e.g. paper or string to make triangles by halving rectangles or squares) so that using the method of halving the base then multiplying by the height makes sense. This connects to the previously taught concept of finding fractions of whole numbers and provides examples of when it is used. Using an area for explaining the concept of multiplying and dividing by fractions is also vital. This allows students to build a visual concept of the act of operating with fractions and builds on the earlier concept of using the region model to solve multiplication tasks and to represent fractions.

There are some other, more interesting ways of making connections too.

Connections with other subjects

Also called cross-subject integration, connections that allow for math to be used organically while learning English, Science, and in fact any other subject, bring forward its importance and make it more familiar and easy to use for children. This especially helps with getting rid of the fear of math. This is the most important connection that the best math tuition can focus on.

Real-world connections

Perhaps the most important type of connection - the ability to take the abstract and relate it to real-world physical quantities. These are the connections that will create a life-long love of mathematics in our children. This is not reliant only on the teacher, for we can go a long way in building these connections outside of school, which completes the learning loop and shows the child why math is so important.

As a parent, this could also bring you to the question of - how do I make sure my child is making these connections? The answer is that we have a plethora of tutors that are competent and fluent in these teaching practices, and all you have to do is take a look at what the online world has to offer the best maths tuition Singapore.