In a previous article, we stressed that a strong math foundation is deep: single digit arithmetic is based on the accumulation of basic skills.
This articles emphasizes that it is also broad, containing five math strands.*
Number Sense and Operations - Representing numbers, recognizing ‘how many’ are in a group, and using numbers to compare and represent paves the way for grasping number theory, place value and the meaning of operations and how they relate to one another.
Algebra - The ability to sort and order objects or numbers and recognizing and building on simple patterns are examples of ways children begin to experience algebra, preparing children to work with algebraic variables as their math experience grows.
Geometry and Spatial Sense - Using knowledge of basic shapes to identify more complex 2-D and 3-D shapes by drawing and sorting, children then learn to reason spatially, read maps, visualize objects in space, and use geometric modelling to solve problems using coordinate geometry to describe spatial relationships.
Measurement - Learning how to measure and compare involves concepts of length, weight, temperature, capacity and money. Telling the time and using money links to an understanding of the number system and represents an important life skill.
Data Analysis and Probability - As children collect information about the world around them, they will want to display and represent their knowledge. Using charts, tables, graphs will help them learn to share and organize data.
Math lessons and activities that cover just one or two of these five strands are narrow and lead to a weak understanding of math. Visit Time4Learning to find out how to help your child build a strong, broad elementary math foundation .
* There are many different ways of identifying math strands or areas.