Parents and teachers spend lots of time helping children learn math at an early age. But what are the topics that really make a difference to the long-term mathematical ability of children? Are there certain math skills that should be learned earlier that would facilitate the learning process going forward?
Dr. David Geary, Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, thinks he has an answer to these questions. His most recent research has been focused on determining the "beginning of school" knowledge kids need in order to be successful through fifth grade. In an upcoming publication in the journal Developmental Psychology, Dr. Geary's paper, “Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: A Five Year Longitudinal Study,” will present his findings about the math skills in first grade that have positive impacts on math learning through fifth grade.
His research--which was carried out by monitoring 177 elementary school students over a period of five years--suggests that first graders who have mastered the skills listed below will have a significantly easier time accumulating math skills up through the fifth grade:
- a firm grasp of numbers and quantities that the numbers represent
- simple arithmetic operations
- reading and using number lines
Dr. Geary's research highlights the need for children to be fluent in simple math concepts at an early age. By highlighting the incremental nature of learning math, and the need to master the simple concepts early, Dr. Geary's team is helping teachers and parents focus on the skills that will pay the highest educational dividends for our kids.
The Peaksmart team is here to help you focus on these critical skills with lots of quizzes, drills, practices sessions, and lessons.