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# Article about memorizing in Math

Posted by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM
• 23 Replies
1 mom liked this

I found this article very interesting. I just wanted to share. My sons have mostly just naturally learned their facts. I mostly just let them use a multiplication chart and just let them have fun with it. My sons have created many interesting number pyramids to figure out their facts. They still literally calculate their times tables in their heads. They also used associations to figure out new facts. Numbers are all connected. They also have used deductive reasoning to figure out their larger facts. I also never taught them the other math facts. They simply learned the numbers that add up to 10 and used those to figure out all their addition and subtraction facts. They think very mathematically. Last night they had to answer a math question to watch TV. My husband asked them what 140 X 135 was. He was able to do it completely in their head just by simplifying the problem logically. I was very impressed.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/when-memorization-gets-in-the-way-of-learning/279425/

by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:19 PM

That is way too hard to read.  Formatting formatting formatting

by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM
by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:22 PM
Patience. :-) It was formatted when I posted it it just stuck it all together. I just supplied the link instead.
Quoting KenneMaw:

That is way too hard to read.  Formatting formatting formatting

by Silver Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Bump!

by Group Admin on Nov. 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

I don't know, Jen.  IMO an equation sheet in higher math is much different than memorizing math facts in the lower grades.  With the equation sheet, many teachers use it as a kind of study guide.  It really gets their minds working about which equations are the most useful, when and how you use the equations, and what exactly will be covered on the test.  With the math facts of the lower grades, it is very important that they understand HOW to find the answer, the concept behind the answer, etc; but it is also important for them to get fast at getting the answer.  The more calculations they need to do each and every time, the longer the later math work will take.  It's like when my son was struggling with chunking his words when reading.  He literally sounded out every single letter of every single word.  I knew that it would help him greatly if he would learn to chunk the words.  He would get faster and be able to focus more on comprehension if he were no longer focussing on the trees (individual letters) and could focus on the forest (whole words and paragraphs).  Same goes for math, getting fast on your math facts recall will allow you more time to focus on the algebra later on.

by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 7:26 PM
1 mom liked this
Actually they still get memorized. My son has most of his memorized but he can also do large problems in his head by simplifying them. It also trained his brain to find patterns and associations between numbers. I think this method works better for some kids than others. Kids that are good at math and think mathematically naturally are more prone to resent route memorization. I think in a lot of cases it can interfere with mathematical thinking. I just handed him a multiplication sheet and told him to go have fun. It would literally use his free time to just play with math. Math is not about numbers. It is a very logical subject. I seriously doubt the first mathematicians were taught to just memorize their math facts. It is important for kids to be creative and figure out the answers. The memorization will come with time. I do think that in some cases it might help to do a combination of the two. I highly recommend you read Secrets of mental math. It is great book. Math has so many patterns than most people realize. We have been looking at Pascal's triangle as well. Amazing stuff. One I really like the answers to the 9's table 09 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't know, Jen.  IMO an equation sheet in higher math is much different than memorizing math facts in the lower grades.  With the equation sheet, many teachers use it as a kind of study guide.  It really gets their minds working about which equations are the most useful, when and how you use the equations, and what exactly will be covered on the test.  With the math facts of the lower grades, it is very important that they understand HOW to find the answer, the concept behind the answer, etc; but it is also important for them to get fast at getting the answer.  The more calculations they need to do each and every time, the longer the later math work will take.  It's like when my son was struggling with chunking his words when reading.  He literally sounded out every single letter of every single word.  I knew that it would help him greatly if he would learn to chunk the words.  He would get faster and be able to focus more on comprehension if he were no longer focussing on the trees (individual letters) and could focus on the forest (whole words and paragraphs).  Same goes for math, getting fast on your math facts recall will allow you more time to focus on the algebra later on.

by Silver Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Meh. My husband is a scientist and very mathematically inclined, by default of his career/education. He is very grateful for his ability to immediately recall simple math facts, and grateful to this nuns in school who drilled it, lol - certainly not resentful.

Cool article - it just isn't one I agree with. Both of my older children are very "math-y" - it is their self professed favorite subjects and the ones they excel in. We drill and teach them to memorize (secondary to conceptual understand, or hand-in-hand with), and neither resents it or dislikes mathematics because of it.

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee

by Group Admin on Nov. 22, 2013 at 8:02 PM

So it sounds like the argument boils down to semantics.  As you say they are getting memorized anyway, so I'm not sure what point you are making.  We can make memorization fun, we can make it about finding the patterns, but it IS still memorizing.

Quoting jen2150:

Actually they still get memorized. My son has most of his memorized but he can also do large problems in his head by simplifying them. It also trained his brain to find patterns and associations between numbers. I think this method works better for some kids than others. Kids that are good at math and think mathematically naturally are more prone to resent route memorization. I think in a lot of cases it can interfere with mathematical thinking. I just handed him a multiplication sheet and told him to go have fun. It would literally use his free time to just play with math. Math is not about numbers. It is a very logical subject. I seriously doubt the first mathematicians were taught to just memorize their math facts. It is important for kids to be creative and figure out the answers. The memorization will come with time. I do think that in some cases it might help to do a combination of the two. I highly recommend you read Secrets of mental math. It is great book. Math has so many patterns than most people realize. We have been looking at Pascal's triangle as well. Amazing stuff. One I really like the answers to the 9's table 09 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't know, Jen.  IMO an equation sheet in higher math is much different than memorizing math facts in the lower grades.  With the equation sheet, many teachers use it as a kind of study guide.  It really gets their minds working about which equations are the most useful, when and how you use the equations, and what exactly will be covered on the test.  With the math facts of the lower grades, it is very important that they understand HOW to find the answer, the concept behind the answer, etc; but it is also important for them to get fast at getting the answer.  The more calculations they need to do each and every time, the longer the later math work will take.  It's like when my son was struggling with chunking his words when reading.  He literally sounded out every single letter of every single word.  I knew that it would help him greatly if he would learn to chunk the words.  He would get faster and be able to focus more on comprehension if he were no longer focussing on the trees (individual letters) and could focus on the forest (whole words and paragraphs).  Same goes for math, getting fast on your math facts recall will allow you more time to focus on the algebra later on.

by on Nov. 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM
1 mom liked this
I was simply putting a different perspective. I wasn't expecting you to agree. Also it does not say that the math facts are not memorized. They are just not memorized by route memorization. Route memorization does not work for every child. Also there is a difference than being good at math and being able to think mathematically. Kids need to learn to figure things and be able to work through math logically. In most cases just memorizing math facts is unnecessary imo. They will memorized through other means eventually.
Quoting AutymsMommy:

Meh. My husband is a scientist and very mathematically inclined, by default of his career/education. He is very grateful for his ability to immediately recall simple math facts, and grateful to this nuns in school who drilled it, lol - certainly not resentful.

Cool article - it just isn't one I agree with. Both of my older children are very "math-y" - it is their self professed favorite subjects and the ones they excel in. We drill and teach them to memorize (secondary to conceptual understand, or hand-in-hand with), and neither resents it or dislikes mathematics because of it.

by Silver Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 8:12 PM
1 mom liked this

My 8yo by far prefers mental math to paper and pencil. He trips me out by how he takes numbers apart and puts them back together in his head. After he finishes he likes to tell me how he did it. He also taught him self multiplication facts. He likes repetitious numbers, 8 plus 8 plus 8, ect. The best part is, it's all self taught. The times I tried to drill him were complete disasters :-/

Quoting jen2150:

Actually they still get memorized. My son has most of his memorized but he can also do large problems in his head by simplifying them. It also trained his brain to find patterns and associations between numbers. I think this method works better for some kids than others. Kids that are good at math and think mathematically naturally are more prone to resent route memorization. I think in a lot of cases it can interfere with mathematical thinking. I just handed him a multiplication sheet and told him to go have fun. It would literally use his free time to just play with math. Math is not about numbers. It is a very logical subject. I seriously doubt the first mathematicians were taught to just memorize their math facts. It is important for kids to be creative and figure out the answers. The memorization will come with time. I do think that in some cases it might help to do a combination of the two. I highly recommend you read Secrets of mental math. It is great book. Math has so many patterns than most people realize. We have been looking at Pascal's triangle as well. Amazing stuff. One I really like the answers to the 9's table 09 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
Quoting bluerooffarm:

I don't know, Jen.  IMO an equation sheet in higher math is much different than memorizing math facts in the lower grades.  With the equation sheet, many teachers use it as a kind of study guide.  It really gets their minds working about which equations are the most useful, when and how you use the equations, and what exactly will be covered on the test.  With the math facts of the lower grades, it is very important that they understand HOW to find the answer, the concept behind the answer, etc; but it is also important for them to get fast at getting the answer.  The more calculations they need to do each and every time, the longer the later math work will take.  It's like when my son was struggling with chunking his words when reading.  He literally sounded out every single letter of every single word.  I knew that it would help him greatly if he would learn to chunk the words.  He would get faster and be able to focus more on comprehension if he were no longer focussing on the trees (individual letters) and could focus on the forest (whole words and paragraphs).  Same goes for math, getting fast on your math facts recall will allow you more time to focus on the algebra later on.