Need Tips for Upper Primary Mathematics? Here are 5!
It is often difficult to get your child to see the point of studying, and mathematics is no exception. As parents, we know that constant practise is the key, however, try telling your 10-to-12 year old that, and you’ll probably get a lot of sullen looks and snarky replies in response.
1) Timetables aren’t just for schools
When your child hits upper primary, the words ‘time management’ takes on a whole new meaning on a whole other level. Schools starts stepping up on the PSLE preparations, homework starts to pile up, and not to mention all the extra tuition that what once was elective, has now become, well, essential.
What might help, especially for busy parents juggling work and children, would be to draw up a timetable, and encourage your child to stick with it. Speak with your child to identify the topics and concepts that he or she is struggling with, and then schedule a time that your child needs to spend working on that.
This helps create focus, and works to ease off the pressure from what may seem at times an overwhelming load of work coming from all directions.
2) Try a different approach
Most children gravitate towards some subjects more than others, and it is not uncommon that those are the subjects that they tend to do better at. Unfortunately for them and for us, it’s usually the weaker subjects that they have to put in more effort to do well in. If this happens to be mathematics for your child, know that you’re not alone.
What we need to understand, is that when our children face difficulty building up on earlier concepts, it will limit their ability to anchor new skills in maths in a clear and meaningful way. Cognitus Academy understands this problem, and our DEPTH framework is designed to help streamline concepts and teach mathematical skills in a very visual and easily accessible way.
However, there are also ways in which you can help your child at home, and it starts with something as simple as creating a positive atmosphere especially when it comes to motivating your child in an environment where he or she is most comfortable in.
For example, the next time your child manages to solve a math problem, ask him or her to teach it to you. Teaching what they’ve just learnt challenges your child to understand the concept in a different way, and helps foster a deeper comprehension of what he or she has just learnt. In addition to that, it builds up on your child’s confidence too, especially when they start feeling that they’re the smartest one in the room!
3) Understand the requirements of Papers 1 and 2
The mathematics PSLE examination paper will be broken down in two sections, with the use of calculators allowed for Paper 2.
Paper 1 consists of Multiple-Choice questions of which 10 questions are worth a mark each and the remaining 5, two marks each (in other words ‘slightly trickier questions’).
Stress to your child to pay attention to the units in the Short-Answer questions and to give their answers in the unit required or marks will be lost.
The structured questions in Paper 2 are where most of the marks lie, and your child must ensure they plan their time wisely. As a general guide, allocate one and a half minutes for each mark in this section.
4) Make a formula sheet
It can be as simple as this. Many times, children tend to find mathematical questions challenging and difficult simply because they’ve forgotten basic rules or formulae. The solution? Write them down! Have your child refer to it every time they forget and especially before their mathematics examination or the PSLE. It’s not only a quick and easy way to revise, but having all that they need to know on a sheet of paper makes studying accessible, and therefore serves to reassure them whenever they feel overwhelmed.
5) Know the calculator well
Children are often thrilled when they get their calculators for the first time at the Upper Primary level. In the years leading up to the PSLE, make sure your child is familiar with the functions of his or her calculator and how to use them, especially when practising for exam questions!