In Grow Your Brain children learn mostly from their own answers to quesitons and their responses to simple prompts. Their knowledge is not so much taught and taken on trust but experienced and discovered. In the spirit of Teaching to Intuition, Math is nurtured in children as something that makes sense and conforms to their own experience of the world around them.
Math as a thinking activity.
Right from the start,
Grow Your Brain presents Math as an opportunity to think. It believes that knowledge itself is a creative activity of the mind, that there is no Math unless the brain is put into action. It challenges children to participate in the effort to grow their brain.
We may want children to know 6 + 8 = 14 and other such facts. But focusing too heavily on that goal, at the very beginning of a child's contact with the world of numbers, tends to communicate an idea of Math as a mindless ability to blurt out memorized facts. Years later, some students still believe that. They struggle hopelessly through the curriculum, their brains clogged with a mixed-up clutter of rules and facts that essentially stifle the thinking process. More important than knowing individual facts, and for many, a condition for knowing such facts, is a child's discovery that Mathematics is a thinking activity. In
Grow Your Brain, knowledge is found at the crossroads of a network of connections.
The approach leads not only to better knowledge but to greater confidence and enjoyment of the learning process. It gradually builds familiarity with the interaction of numbers rather than just starting an ever-growing accumulation of memorized knowledge.
An ambitious goal
Math as a thinking activity comes naturally to many students. They find in Grow Your Brain
a confirmation and validation of their natural inclination and an antidote to any attempt by drills, tests, and tradition to convince them otherwise. Other children find it more difficult to connect with mathematical thinking. Many struggle through twelve grades of schooling and, still on the wrong side of the achievement gap, need remedial classes on Elementary and Middle-School topics as they enter College. The national statistics are dramatic. That is not acceptable. That does not have to be.
One of the goals of Grow Your Brain is to break the tenacious grip of the achievement gap where it all begins: in the very first grades of schooling. A good start does not solve all the obstacles to a life-long love of numbers, but without a good start, many find it impossible to ever to take off and soar.
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