28 Dec 2010
Enrichment or gifted mathematics teaching for Vancouver Canada gifted elementary children in a learning centre
Frank Ho and Amanda Ho
Teachers at Ho Math and Chess Tutoring Centre
December 26, 2010
The development of gifted math program at a commercial learning centre is very different from the enrichment or gifted program at regular day school. In this article we like to share our experience on how we at Ho Math and Chess develop or create our own gifted or enrichment program. When creating gifted math program at learning centre, learning centre must be aware the following important factors.
Why gifted math program at learning centre is different
The math program at Ho math and Chess normally runs in the length of 2 hours, for very young kids, they attention span will not last for 2 hours so at learning centre, we must develop a gifted math program which can get children’s attention for longer time, much longer than school math allotted teaching time. For this reason the material must be fun and entertaining.
Math materials must be multi-level, and be able to teach mixed-ability
It is very normal, we have different grades in one class and even all at the same grades but their math abilities will be different since they come from different day schools. So our math teaching materials must be able to handle multi-level and are suitable for students with different math background.
Everybody needs to be challenged
It is very wrong to assume that students with abilities less than gifted children do not need to be challenged; they need to be challenged at different levels. Who would be interested in doing something like 3+2, 3+4, and 3 +5 all day long?
Computation question do not train problem solving ability
Most people would think that pure computation problems do not really train students’ thinking ability, it is true by looking at the most workbooks purchased, but if the computation problems are designed specially then computation problems can also train students’ thinking ability and they are quite challenging. A learning centre needs to develop these kinds of math materials to keep students’ interest high when working on math computation problems.
Gifted math program only works if students have mastered basics.
If students cannot get the answer 12 – 9 quickly or need to hand calculate 42 then they do not have number sense and mental math ability. It would be difficult for students do well if students have to use calculators to get answers for the results of 2-digit subtract 1-digit. Further difficulty when going to higher grades is students need to do even simple calculations by hands instead of by their brain, for example, to divide 43−112+0+12divided by we have seen some students could not do mentally but need to use hand calculation to actually write it out separately to just get the answer for −112−82.
Gifted math materials must train students’ multi-task
One difficulty students encounter when doing math is they cannot do multi-task when in fact in real life many children can do multiple tasks. For example, a problem was given to student for experiment as follows: simplify−−1−2−1−3−1. Students need to develop the ability of handling multi-task to solve this problem.
In summary, a learning centre must develop a program which whose contents can last for 2 hours without creating boredom for students, so the material must be challenging, fun, and entertaining. The materials must be able to teach students with handle multi-level and mixed abilities. Computation problems must be designed in a way, they can also train student’ thinking abilities.
Frank Ho, Amanda Ho