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Rethinking How Kids Learn Math

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Our math camps and classes utilize a discovery-based and project-based learning approach. They encourage kids to find a love of math and empower students with the foundational skills and learning prowess they need to take on more advanced math courses and even the most math-intensive career fields.

In this post, you’ll learn what makes these courses so impactful, from our discovery-based learning approach to the process by which we select our outstanding instructors and pair them with students for 1-on-1 learning.

What Is Discovery-Based Learning?

The premise of discovery-based learning is simple: students learn best when they are put at the center of acquiring and building knowledge. This is why our instructors use guided activities to unlock the mathematical intuitions that the student already possesses.

Through engaging, hands-on projects and guiding questions, students in our courses take the lead in learning new concepts. Meanwhile, the instructor takes the role of a guide, adding suggestions and correcting misconceptions as needed. By taking the student’s discoveries and applying them to concrete exercises and comprehensive projects, students become experts in each mathematical concept they discover.

In each of these courses, students will acquire and build the in-depth, conceptual knowledge they need to succeed in their more advanced mathematics courses and future career fields.

Why Should Students Take Our Elementary Mathematics Courses?

The traditional classroom isn’t for everyone

Kids are often placed with 25 or more students in a traditional mathematics classroom and pushed to find the right answer to a given question. As a result, very early in their lives, students begin to see their mathematics skills as fixed: they’re either good or bad at math. With little space to enjoy the process of learning, most students disengage — never truly harnessing their mathematical potential.

Extracurricular mathematics programs often reinforce those sentiments. Rather than focusing on conceptual understanding, embedding elements of creativity, or hands-on activities, such programs use “skill and drill” learning. While fluency practice is a crucial component of developing mathematical skills, it is certainly not the only component.

Re-imagining the learning process

Math In Action challenges the traditional narratives. We empower students to explore, think critically, and ask questions. Rather than merely categorizing an answer as right or wrong, we implore students to ask why.

By leading with these questions, our instructors give students the space to explore new concepts and create meaningful connections. Because of this crucial shift in perspective, our students find their sessions opportunities for endless curiosity and possibilities.

Nurturing a student’s intrinsic motivation — their desire to learn because it is intrinsically gratifying rather than for a reward — sparks a life-long interest in learning that drives both academic and future career success. Offering a student a sense of autonomy and control in the learning process, exactly as discovery-based learning endeavors to do, is an excellent way to foster intrinsic motivation.

What Will Students Learn in Our Elementary Mathematics Courses?

In Early Elementary, kids will gain a deep appreciation for sums, differences, multiplication, and division. They will discover how to represent and interpret data and how these necessary skills are applied to understand time, money, length, and other basic units. By the end of the course, they’ll have improved their confidence by mastering complicated topics like fractions and measurement.

Late Elementary lets kids delve even deeper into the applications of arithmetic. They’ll discover place values, rounding, and multi-digit multiplication and division. Kids will understand how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and decimals. They’ll even have the chance to work with lines, angles, shapes, and coordinate planes!

Students will be paired with instructors whose focus is to guide the student in articulating their learning, but kids will have the central role in building their mathematics knowledge by working through discovery activities, games, and hands-on projects.

Example: counting penguins

Let’s try one of these fun and engaging activities together. Go ahead and access this discovery activity. Your task is to count the number of penguins on your screen.

How did you do it? Did you start from one corner and count each penguin? Did you group them first?

Because each student is different, we anticipate that they may apply one of several strategies to this activity — just as you did — and we welcome that!

Students will use whatever method they find most intuitive to count the penguins while working alongside their private instructor. After giving students a few moments to engage in a productive struggle, their instructor will guide them towards grouping the penguins by 10s.

In this process, students build their number sense and realize that counting by grouping is highly effective. More importantly, students intuitively learn that 10 groups of 10 penguins will make 100 penguins in total! This skill builds toward adding larger numbers together and eventually forms a central understanding of multiplication.

It All Starts With the Best Instructors

We’re so excited to release a set of mathematics courses that give students opportunities to explore the depths of their learning. This feat would not be possible, though, without our stellar instructors — each of whom was intentionally chosen and paired with students to maximize the students’ learning, comfort, and fun. Our instructors come from the world’s top universities, and we train them to work with all types of students.

Coupled with our discovery-learning curriculum, the 1:1 sessions between students and instructors make our program wonderfully unique. Students build a strong relationship with their instructor, who becomes their mentor as they progress through more challenging Juni mathematics courses.

Ready to Enroll Your Child?

These courses give students a central role in discovering the joy and importance of mathematics, all under our instructors’ 1-on-1 guidance and adapted from Common Core State Standards.

Discovery-based learning gives kids the tools to feel empowered to drive them to succeed in their elementary school courses and future grade levels. If this sounds like an opportunity you want for your child, we encourage you to enroll them today.

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