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What to do when you hear "math is boring" and "I hate math" from a young child (5-6 year old)? The kid goes to kindergarten. He does ok in math, but is not at all interested in it. Word problems in particular are his weakness. At the same time, he loves building with Lego , Tinkertoys or really any kind of blocks, building forts, marble runs, etc. How to translate his interests into kindergarten math requirements?

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Maria Droujkova

**Answer** by David Wees , Father. Activist. Canadian. Educational technology consultant. Math & Science teacher. Geek & Skeptic. On TEDxKIDSBC & Edcamp Vancouver planning teams.
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Jul 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM

I taught computer programming as a mathematics activity to kindergarten students for a couple of years in a row (just one lesson each year) but the message to teachers was the most important thing that resulted out of that arrangement: "Kids can learn complicated things, especially when they are interested in those things." So I would get your child started on learning programming to create art-work and when they are solidly hooked, show them how many connections there are between the two disciplines.

**Answer** by Dani
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Apr 02, 2013 at 02:49 PM

It is so sad that the factory model of teaching s seeping even to kindergartens. Many years ago I heard of a master teacher in California who was able to transform the way math was taught in the classrooms and her positive influence grew leaps and bounds. One of the first books Marilyn Burns wrote was "I hate Math" and I bought it and many other books she wrote through the years and shared it with parents and after writing many books she created a company that makes a big difference in many school districts around the country (Math Solutions, see
http://www.mathsolutions.com/index.cfm?page=wp10&crid=3 ) I think that if the parent has time they could become playful with Math and this attitude will flow over to the child. Lego is wonderful and it is Math also. Music is Math. The way math is taught is many places is not math at all. It is only called math and the child needs to know that. It is boring the way it is taught. I must say it really makes me angry how ignorent our system is. No individual is to be blamed but It looks like math has been kidnapped. --Dani

**Answer** by Denise Gaskins
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Mar 31, 2013 at 06:47 PM

When we started homeschooling, I was amazed at how boring and tedious the math textbooks were. (This was first grade, but I imagine kindergarten would be even worse.) They were more like handwriting practice than anything else: count the pictures, name the number, write the number, name the shape, write the name of the shape,... ugh! Our solution was to drop the math textbooks entirely and to read library books instead. The [Living Math website][1] has a great list, or just ask your librarian to make suggestions. And the other thing we did was to [make up story problems for each other][2], as a conversational game. [1]:
http://livingmath.net/ [2]:
http://letsplaymath.net/2012/05/14/tell-me-a-math-story/

**Answer** by climeguy
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Feb 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Since you can't change what the Kindergarten teacher is teaching, the best thing to do is supplement fun activities that align closely to what the student is doing in class. Then have the student share with the teacher what he/she is doing on the side to show the teacher that he/she knows the material and informs the teacher about better ways to teach. Word problems could easily be Lego based. Cuisenaire rods is another source for interesting word problems. See
http://www.ttac.odu.edu/articles/cuisenai.html for info about oral word problems

**Answer** by dendari
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Feb 01, 2013 at 08:28 AM

Encourage the building with Legos and Tinkertoys and ask your child to look for and create patterns. A Lego wall might have alternating colors of bricks or every third brick is red. Ask you child to explain why some buildings a fall down and some stand tall. What can s/he do to make it more stable? On marble runs use a timer to figure out how long it takes the marble to get through to the floor, then try and figure out how many runs you can do in a minute, 5 minutes? How long would it take to do 10 marble runs? Assuming you are in the US I'll mention the Common Core Standards. Counting to 100 by ones and tens. So how long will 100 marble runs take, or how many walls can I build with 100 Legos, Build ten objects of ten Legos each and count each one. Common core also asks for cardinality, or the difference between 1 and first. So you might use language like, "The first marble run it took the marble 10 seconds to reach the bottom." "Count the Legos in order. I built this one first, this one second, this one third, ...." The common core standards are here
http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/K/CC and in kindergarten at least they are pretty easy for anyone to understand and teach. Have fun and remember to get your child talking touching and counting as much as possible.

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