## Supporting Families

For a child to learn mathematics they first must believe that they are capable of learning and ‘doing’ math. Families can support this by modeling learning in a supportive, relaxed atmosphere where the child will enjoy exploring the world of mathematics.

How might math look different today than what you experienced?

“The more math and numbers there are around a child, the more likely they’re going to like math and enjoy math and develop as mathematicians.” 1Geist (2009)

The math homework that students take home may look different than what families have previously experienced. Our world has changed and because of the advances in science, technology, and communication it is necessary that students learn more math and in a different way.

Mathematical basics are still important but they are not enough. Today’s world and tomorrow’s future require that students are able to:

• solve real world problems;
• explain their thinking to others;
• identify and analyze trends from data; and
• use modern technology.

What can families do with their children?

Through everyday interactions families can help children learn to solve problems, to communicate mathematically, and to demonstrate reasoning abilities. These skills are fundamental to learning mathematics. Families have an important role in shaping children’s interest and skills in math. Some ideas might include2:

• Estimate things such as a length of time, number of objections, weights, and measures.
• Play games of all kinds, including board games, card games and dice games. Some examples include Snakes and Ladders, Uno, Yahtzee, Frustration, Set and Qwirkle. Talk about strategies you can use.
• Talk about math concepts when baking or cooking.
• Discuss how math is part of everyday activities, such as sports, music and art.
• Comment on and discuss the meaning of charts and graphs that you may see online or in the news.
• Discuss how we use positive and negative numbers when talking about temperatures.
• Calculate discounts and find the least expensive options for things such as cell phone plans.
• Interpret and compare sports statistics. Talk about probabilities in sports and games.
• Estimate and/or calculate mathematical “events’ in the home, such as how much new flooring is needed or the cost of a family vacation.