Videos

Math Patterns: Skills for Success?

February 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — When it comes to early math, not all skills are created equal. Counting is, of course, an important part of preschool, but new research suggests that understanding patterns and being able to compare quantities are not beyond little learners, and may help prepare students for math success.

For Nicolas Ramos, Legos mean hours of entertainment, building a city or even a train. For mom, Maria, it’s a teaching moment disguised as play.

Maria told Ivanhoe, “I’ll say okay, you take one of these and two of these. One of these. And two of these. Then he starts learning about patterns.”

Bethany Rittle-Johnson, PhD, is an educational psychologist at Vanderbilt University. She and her colleagues followed 517 low-income children from age four to 11. When the children were in preschool and at the end of first grade, researchers tested them on general knowledge and six math skills, including counting, comparing quantities, and patterning. They wanted to know if, among other things, those three math skills at ages four and five would predict math achievement at age 11. The study suggests that they do.

“The way I think this is done well is when it’s just kind of incorporated into the fun things you’re doing,” detailed Rittle-Johnson.

Card games, crafts, and building blocks provide parents opportunities to talk about quantities and patterns. For Beth Jordan and Kaitlin, these are built into their daily routine.

“It’s just a part of us talking to her,” said Beth.

Rittle-Johnson said that, because not all types of math knowledge were equal, the study suggests patterning and comparing quantities should get more attention in a formal school setting than they currently do. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Jamison Koczan, Editor; Roque Correa, Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 


Spanish Translation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Cuando se trata de enseñar matemáticas a un niño no todas las cuentas salen igual. Aprender a contar es sin duda importante, pero un estudio reciente indica que los pequeños son capaces de entender patrones y comparar cantidades, algo que les dará una base sólida para las matemáticas en el futuro.

Para el pequeño Nicolás Ramos, los legos significan horas de diversión, construyendo ciudades y hasta trenes. Para Maria, su mama, es una forma de enseñarle sobre patrones matemáticos sin dejar de jugar.    Bethany Rittle-Johnson es una psicóloga educacional en la Universidad de Vanderbilt. Ella y sus colegas estudiaron el progreso escolar de 517 estudiantes de familias de bajos ingresos, desde los 4 a los 11 años.

Los investigadores examinaron a los niños en pre escolar y al final del primer grado. Se concentraron en conocimiento general y habilidades matemáticas, incluyendo contar, comparar cantidades y patrones   numéricos. El propósito del estudio era determinar si una mayor o menor destreza en esos tres campos a los 4 o 5 años podía predecir los logros matemáticos del estudiante a los 11 años. La respuesta fue afirmativa. Juegos de cartas, manualidades y juguetes de construcción le dan la oportunidad a los padres de enseñarle a los niños sobre cantidades y patrones, matemáticos.

Rittle-Johnson indica que se debe de poner más énfasis en enseñar sobre patrones y a comparar cantidades en los colegios.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo; Milvionne Chery, Productora Assistente; Jamison Koczan, Editor; Roque Correa, Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.