# Math Buddy

##### STRENGTHENING A WEAK TOPIC

Math with a good foundation leads to many benefits in life. A fine understanding of math helps to fuel middle and advanced learning in various education levels. There are times when we run into difficult topics that we cannot pass up. It is quite natural to target topics which we like or find easy to do. But we must not ignore the weak areas, especially when they are critical.

There are some topics of prime concern that are of big use in mathematics. The important point to realize is, when we know our own weaknesses and do not make any effort to correct or improve them. This habit is a strict no-no.

Let us understand how to overcome this habit and strengthen a weak topic in math.

Throw yourself directly into the topic that you are not too good with. Surround yourself with the information that helps to improve your understanding of the topic. In short, practice, practice and practice.

Let’s understand this with the help of some examples.

• Marathon runners practice hard to maintain their stamina and good timing.
• Swimmers practice all day long to improve their timing and flow.
• Musicians practice their musical score to the finest level.

The list can go on and on. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is well known and will probably never disappear. Why? Because it works. Not only does this apply to math learning, it applies to any area or field that we are weak in.

Once you know the areas or concepts that you are weak, list them. Make up a plan in the required order, which means the sequence of concepts which you want to target one by one. For example:

Addition → Multiplication concept → Multiplication tables

Next step is to make a detailed study of the topic and further related topics. Explore the topic, understand, link and make thorough observations.

Never deny the chance to learn. It is okay if you don’t know the perfect calculation or the technique. Clarify the unknown and try not to repeat them. Denying yourself the chance to fully understand the weak topic will lead to incomplete comprehension of the principles and concepts. A false sense of achievement may arise, which can result in shameful outcome later on.

For strengthening any weak topic, seek for true understanding by immersing into the topic instead of avoiding it. By doing so, the probability of mastering the weak math topic will be quite fair.

##### Srinivasa Ramanujan: A Beautiful Mind

Ramanujan searched for forms and patterns in mathematics. He believed in working more then intuition and induction. He explained relationship between numbers that nobody could even imagine at that time.

An example of this is when Hardy visited Ramanujan in a hospital and casually mentioned that the number plate of the taxi had the number ‘1729’ which seemed to be a dull number with nothing special about it. Immediately Ramanujan came up with the fact that it is the smallest number that can be written as sum of two cube numbers in two different ways: 13 + 123 or 93 + 103. Such was the genius of Ramanujan. This number eventually came to be called as ‘Hardy-Ramanujan’ number as a tribute to him.

You can find contributions of S. Ramanujan pretty much in every field of mathematics including Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Number theory etc. Many of his contributions have been given his name – Ramanujan prime, Ramanujan-Soldner constant, Ramanujan theta function and Ramanujan’s sum.

In order to calculate the value of ‘pi’ up to 17 million places using a computer, the present day mathematicians actually use S. Ramanujan’s method. His mathematical contributions have also been widely used in solving various problems in higher scientific fields of specialization, including particle physics, statistical mechanics, computer science, space science, cryptology, polymer chemistry and medical science. You will find applications of Ramanujan’s findings even in designing better furnaces for smelting metal and splicing telephone cable for communication.

Ramanujan did mathematics not for University degrees, but for his infinite thirst for mathematics.

##### Math Struggle

For most of us Math has been a subject of great struggle. Simply following a textbook doesn’t full fill the information needed to solve Math problems properly.

Math particularly is quite different from other subjects like English, Geography or even Science. Math is a subject in which you must start at the beginning and build upon what you learned in the previous lesson. The answer derived is either 100% right or 100% wrong, there is nothing like a partially correct answer.

Unlike other areas of study, one can’t just pick up a Math book and begin unless the proper sequence of preliminary concepts is understood. This is because the study of Math is the study of a procedure and methodology. Many students that develop Math problems in the middle grades do so because of this effect. The multi-step problems magnify minor inaccuracies into major, test-failing problems.

Math difficulties generally are of three types,

¨      Process

¨      Conceptual

¨      Algorithmic

Process problems deal with the process adopted by students to solve the problems. This causes most of the difficulties Math students have. As such, they are really personal habits that need to be corrected.

Conceptual problems are the one where the concepts are not clear. Explain the concepts to the students until it becomes clear to them, use references, examples, objects etc.

Algorithmic problems are problems related to the method of problem solving. The general procedure to solve an algorithmic problem is to first teach the student that an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure along with the couple of revisions later.

Students who solve problems usually with short cuts will often have trouble with complex problems because they are used to shortcuts rather using a robust methodology. Such students generally have a tendency not to check their answers, which is a wrong practice.

To help students it is advisable to try and incorporate basic math into day-to-day life. One of the great ways is to use interactive activities and online materials for introducing and later explaining concepts. Math becomes more of fun a learning activity with such a new age technology. Math Buddy is such a platform for students to explore the ways of dealing with mathematics. It’s an online learning system which is absolutely user friendly.

##### Secured Internet Under Parental Control

Secured Internet Under Parental Control Parenting means a lot more than just meeting your children’s basic needs, education and clothing. It bends more towards bringing up your children in a morally upright way. In order to fulfill the responsibility of protecting your children online, it is advisable that every parent should master the basics of computers. Only then the parents can effectively guide them about the do’s and don’ts of the internet. Teach them to use the Internet safely and encourage them to share their experiences with you from time to time.

Children are usually a way ahead of parents in case of internet and technology. They seem to be quite comfortable and are curious to explore more and more. Technology has developed vastly resulting in more information, details and opportunity along with risk of over exposure; that has made safety on internet an evolving issue for parents.

Providing a safe and secure environment for children surfing on the internet is important for parents. Internet brings a lot of repulsive, violent and vulgar content which are very harmful for children. It is required to make sure that the young ones do not stumble upon inappropriate content, violent images or pornography, because all this is just one click away. Nowadays, students are getting more and more used to searching for information on the net and just few mistakes in spelling here and there could take them to inappropriate sites. Secured Internet Under Parental Control  Internet has become a host to predators, therefore it is very important for parents to assist their children timely, so that they can handle their curiosities easily.

Despite the fact that it is important to know what your kids are up to when they use internet, extra care should be taken at the parents end, so that they do not interfere with children’s privacy. Such intrusion may lead to conflict between the two, raising the chances of intentional disobedience.  Parents have to work an extra mile to ensure that children are unaffected from the wrong influences when they are active on the internet.
Installing the latest security software or filtering/monitoring software is not enough to monitor the online activities. Children might end up creating random emails and social networking profiles on internet from cyber or any friend’s house. The unruly behavior of kids can be awfully worrying and frustrating. If the condition deteriorates to this level, parents should have an open dialog to encounter this. Sharing related experiences while going behind their parents back can really drive your point to convince children.

Hopefully the strategic approach for dealing with internet safety for children will help parents to make better use of Internet.

Math Buddy

##### Math Buddy New Avataar

It brings us immense pleasure to inform you that Math Buddy now has a complete fresh new look. Our team has been working very hard the last few weeks to create a new colorful layout with useful widgets that provide clear and updated information.

There is a new Math Buddy Wall of Fame that shows the top ten students for the past 7 days in terms of points collected. Students can collect points by playing with activities, doing smart sheets and assessments. We believe this will encourage students to try their best in getting their names on the Wall of Fame, and during this process, they will get lots and lots of practice with math concepts.

In addition to Wall of Fame, we have also added a column called Breaking News which has been designed to highlight any achievements, such as getting on the leader board of any activity or improving their position on the leader board etc. Again, the intent is to make it interesting for students and encouraging them to use the system more and more.

Our objective, as always, has been to add features that will help make students enjoy learning and practicing math.

We will be happy to hear your feedback and any suggestions that will help us further improve the system.

Happy Learning!

Best Wishes

Math Buddy Team

##### Building Strong Math Foundation
 Five year old Sara is playing with three dolls that came from a set of four. Passing by, her teacher inquires, “Where is the other doll?”Her teacher overheard Sara saying, “[Pointing to each doll] I’m calling you ‘one.’ You’re ‘two’ and ‘three’. Where is your sister, ‘four’?” She got engaged with dolls for another minute. “Oh! Here you are ‘Four’.” Sara, a small girl, incorporated counting to keep track of her dolls. She has unknowingly learnt the basics of counting. Children’s play happens to be their foremost source of ‘pre-mathematical’ experience.

Children start developing math concepts at a very initial stage; which help them in spontaneous recognition and identification of numbers. They usually get into schools with varied levels of math capabilities and understanding. Some are able to understand the crux of concepts without much effort but there are a few who need additional support.

There are some children who would get too much confused and perplexed with math, they seem to be lost completely. That’s a simple case of weak math basics. Without a solid math foundation children will probably get troubled every now and then.

Over the period of time children develop an attitude towards math. These beliefs influence their thinking towards math which is reflected in later years. The “don’t know or don’t understand” factor in a child can develop math anxiety and could make math scarier. A not so strong math foundation may become increasingly difficult and confusing for children, which eventually would end up in poor grades.

Therefore, there has to be a systematic approach to meet the requirements of understanding the concepts, like,

Developing plan of action – A specific and clear action plan is more likely to succeed. Making children understand the process and techniques will encourage them and once they understand the concept they will be able to raise their difficulty level for any given topic.

Measurable goals – Measurable goals are critically essential so that children can have multiple goals on the way to achieving the big goal.

Student preferred learning style – Each child has different capabilities and has a unique way to understand. Teachers use multi-sensory approach because they deal with many students at one point of time. It includes many techniques like,

• Colorful illustrations
• Verbal description
• Study material
• Group activities
• Animations and flash programs

Liberty for exploration – Math is a continuous process of exploration which deals with techniques and skills that result in correct or incorrect answer. Teachers can help children in developing this attitude.

Celebrating on small success – Pat your back when you understand how the concept works for those you had memorized earlier. Feel good when you feel less anxious next time you open your math book. The idea is to build up your confidence that, “You can do Math”.

Math Buddy has been created to build strong math foundation for children. Our curriculum and activities are exclusively designed to provide complete assistance for deep understanding of concepts. Click here to learn more about Math Buddy.

##### Effectual Math Teaching

As teachers, we put in all our efforts to explain the different concepts in mathematics. We all want our students to see the why as well as how a particular concept works. The most important fact to bring out in our classrooms is that math is not confined to what is given in the text books. Math has got a universal presence and we can see it in everything that we do in real life.

In this context, it helps to take a minute to think about the purpose of teaching math. Is it to finish the curriculum or to make a student capable of doing well in his exams? While these are important, these cannot be the ultimate goal of a teacher. Our prime objective should be to make students competent enough to navigate their lives in this complex world. Understanding math concepts and relating to every day life can really make a difference in a student’s life. For example, learning concepts in number system, decimals, measurement are all important in helping him/her handle money effectively (in the form of loan, tax, credit, budget etc) in their later life. While students may not necessarily appreciate algebra immediately, the concepts of algebra play an important role in every sphere of life. For example, when buying a car or a home, we need to compare the various loan options available, and graphing the various options immediately helps us choose the best option.

As teachers, we need to let our students see the beauty of math, or at the very least, make sure that they do not develop negative feelings towards math. Conceptual understanding is most essential to achieve this end. With technology, there are just so many things that can be done to help students visualize and understand the concepts.

Math Buddy ‘Classroom Plus’ is one such program that really helps teachers and students enjoy teaching and learning math concepts. There are over a 1000 curriculum aligned interactive activities designed to help students understand and practice math concepts. Teachers can assign activities, smart sheets or customized assessments to students, and track their usage and performance online. Teachers can identify the trouble spots and take remedial actions to help students. Almost 70 to 80 percent of the activities in Math Buddy are designed to help children practice the various skills by playing with the activities and getting their names on the leaderboard for that activity. During this process, they not only practice the concepts repeatedly, but also have lots of fun doing so.

Math is not drudgery, nor something which is just confined to what is given in the textbooks. Let us do our best to help make mathematics easier to understand and make sense to our kids. This alone can make quite a difference and kids will start developing an interest and love for Mathematics.

Sign up for Math Buddy Clasroom Plus before October 15, 2011 and avail a special 10% discount on the total price. For details, contact sales@mathbuddyonline.com

##### Teaching Students to Use Resources to Find Answers

Relying only on the textbook that is provided for students in most schools may not be enough in order for them to have the successful educational experience that you want. Students can benefit from a variety of supplementary resource materials, and you may not even realize what resources are available to you. You can find resources that will help your child prepare for tests, learn more about topics they are studying, and master the concepts that are presented to them, in any subject. This will make your student’s educational experiences run as smoothly as possible.

Computer software programs can go a long way in helping your child master difficult concepts. Making practice fun is a great way to encourage your student to work hard. Check out websites like MathBuddyOnline that offer educational activities designed by experts to assist your student. You can also find information online about how to best teach specific topics. The Internet is a fantastic resource if you know where to look. Look for sites designed for educators and resources intended for homeschooling families. You might also find information at your State’s Department of Education website.

The textbook can be a valuable resource, when used in a way that maximizes its effectiveness. Familiarize yourself with the content of your child’s textbook so that you know how to use it to the best advantage. Check to see how the chapters are laid out, in terms of vocabulary words, review sections, practice tests, examples, etc. Does your child’s textbook have an accompanying workbook for extra practice available? Is there a CD Rom available, or a website? Take a look at the publisher’s website and you can often find more exercises and other supplementary material. Use all of the sections of the textbook to find out which are most effective for your child.

The library is an excellent source of educational resources. You can find a wide variety of magazines and newspapers to supplement your child’s education, as well as books on any topic he or she may be studying. Ask the librarian what else is available and take advantage of all that your library has to offer. For older students, a local college or university may also be a great source of educational resources. With a little searching, you may find other local sources of valuable information, including natural history and fine arts museums, zoos, symphonies and orchestras, theaters, and other similar places. Don’t forget fun resources, like board games, computer games and toys! These education-centered products make learning fun for children of all ages. When you use resources to maximize your student’s education, you help them to have the best possible chance for successful learning.

##### The power of encouragement..

The following is an extract from a wonderful book titled ‘Wonderful Ways to Love a Child’ by Judy Ford.

We all need encouragement.. you do and so does your child. In some ways we are all helpless little people trying to cope with a complex world. The rules change practically every day and it’s hard to keep up. No one needs encouragement more than children. There are so many pressures and temptations that they need all the support we can give. Whatever they try to do, stand behind them. Let them know you believe they can accomplish their goal by saying, “I think you can do it.” Acknowledge their accomplishments, however small.

Be careful not to confuse encouraging with pushing. Too often I see parents who are actually discouraging their child by pushing the things they care about rather than letting the child fulfill his or her own desires.

Don’t try to persuade your child to follow your dreams by saying, “I’d rather you become and engineer,” to her desire to become an editor. When you encourage, you inspire your child to be herself. If she has a dream, tell her it’s a wonderful dream…no matter what. Don’t knock it and don’t put fear into her by saying, “There aren’t that many jobs for astronauts.”

Children have goals and ambitions of their own. Your job is to cheer them on. And don’t forget to recognize their efforts. Such words as, “I trust you to know what is right for you,” are music to the ears of children and echo the message: It’s okay to discover who you are and to find out what you’re about. With such uplifting coaching from you, even when they have a setback, they won’t be pessimistic for long.

Love them and believe in them totally. Use words like, “Whatever you are wishing for, we wish for you.” With this kind of loving backup, you will be a light of inspiration guiding your children as they become what they are capable of being.