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Reflections on Math

Parent Inspiration
Updated on Aug 26, 2010

Thinking about thinking: could a little introspection make your child a better math student?

What You Need to Know:

Nearly all mathematics relates back to reasoning, but in this case, it doesn't simply mean “thinking”  – it refers to a specific method of thinking.

Some types of mathematical reasoning:

• inductive
• deductive
• spatial/geometric
• proportional
• numeric

Recent brain research indicates each of these different types of reasoning is carried out in a different part of the brain (or by different combinations of these parts) – so each kind of reasoning may have a different feel from student to student, so that students vary in which reasoning types they find most difficult.

How You Can Help:

The best news: Reasoning is not based on innate abilities – each type can be taught, learned, practiced and improved.

• As your child completes assignments, achieves new math victories, and encounters new math challenges, encourage some internet research to distinguish between the various types of math reasoning, then try to think of times (whether math-related or not) he's employed each in order to understand a concept. Assess which reasoning styles seem easiest to determine examples for, and this might suggest which type of reasoning your child is most responsive to. Encourage your child to call on this method in times of academic difficulty, as well as to keep those other styles tucked away in his problem-solving tool belt, for help discovering new preferred methods for maneuvering through difficult problems. Remind your child that when one method of thinking isn't working, that there is always a wealth of others to try that might work better instead.
• While your child's online, taking a test to determine his learning style might also prove beneficial in narrowing down which types of reasoning are likely to serve him best in times of need. There are three main types of learners:
• Visual – best remembers what's been seen
• Auditory – best remembers what's been heard
• Kinesthetic – best remembers what's been done

Knowing which category your child falls under will help him maximize his own learning experience and better pinpoint and address sources of confusion within his learning processes.

http://www.education.com/reference/article/reasoning-mathematics/