Can we have fun learning math?
Mathematics can be very overwhelming for most children and we've seen this at our Play Centers as well. Sometimes the children want to steer away from math-based games which involve calculations and heavy use of their brains. Given the atmosphere of competition and high rank benchmarks that look over our children, its rare to find children enjoying their studies and lessons, especially mathematics.
Last Friday, on May 3rd, Toybank's welfare and inventory team were taken into a completely innovative world of learning and practicing math. Aamod Karkhanis, the director of Nova Via educational tools and games conducted a workshop for our team to train us into using the math-based games designed by Nova Via. The workshop was a treasure of learning methods, interesting historical facts about math and mathematicians and interesting stories about why these games were made and how the idea came about.
Understanding learning capacities
Our workshop began with a cup of chai, refreshing our conversations on play and maths. Aamodji gave us a brief history about how he started designing games and teaching aids to enrich the learning of maths and science. The games he designs have two outcomes :
1) Learning maths (for children who have a nascent understanding in mathematics and are yet to master the basics)
2) Practicing maths (for children who already know the basics and need to hone their skills further)
Understanding these two approaches is very important to guide our decisions on which games should be given to children. It is extremely important to first understand what is it that the child knows already, what are its learning capacities and then, appropriately chose the level of games that the child should play with.
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Storytelling and maths
Aamodji also told us the story behind each game before we played them. This was a great classroom tip to combine an interesting story before playing a challenging game. Children love stories and it captivates their attention with ease. Infact, stories and interesting facts about the game, encourage children to appreciate the importance of the game and therefore have a more fulfilling play experience.
Calculations made fun
We learnt four games : Magic Squares, Multiplica, Space Race and River Bridge, which made us all very nostalgic about math lectures during school. The only difference since then was that - we had fun learning it. We're so used to using calculators after school or college, that our stagnant skills in calculating without technology were now refreshed. Learning with Aamodji made learning math so seamless. After the whole workshop ended, we didn't even realize that 5 hours passed by and we learnt math so effortlessly. Children only pick up easy level games. But if taught in this playful manner they will be encouraged to play math. Our program officers often have difficulty on field to get a child to play these challenging games. After this workshop, they are very excited and hopeful to rekindle the children's interest in mathematics.
"Play is not a break from the curriculum; play is the best way to implement the curriculum."
By BAECF in Play in the early years : Key to school success