Math: Process Matters


One subject probably causes more apprehension among students and parents than any other: math.

You (and your teachers) might be doing it wrong.

Let’s take a bird’s eye of Monday’s “speed test” of multiplication facts, shall we? In a class of 30 students; one or two wunderkinder speed through the trial. Others lag behind them. The bottom ten or fifteen are in despair. These children, under stress, are forgetful. They grow up to fear and hate math. As adults, they may have trouble computing a 10% tip; a 15% tip will confound them.

It need not be this way.

Way back in the day, when I was writing out my multiplication tables, I observed many patterns. For example, do I need to memorize that 7*5=35? Why bother, when I know the general pattern: to multiply by 5, first multiply by 10, then divide by two. Add a zero and divide…

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