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Mysteries of Math

The mysteries of math are hidden in the building blocks between basic equations to number theory. They can be exciting, fun, and sometimes scary. Let’s break the fear and find solutions to help!

Mathematic achievement levels in the schools have suffered in the last two years. It makes sense that with a lapse in regular routines that certain areas of study will flounder, yet because math is a foundational subject that leads to success in many other areas, it is not one we can ignore.

The language of mathematics has unique words that need to be understood, not just memorized. We need to understand the symbols used as well as the words to be able to succeed at calculations.

The foundation we lay in our understanding is what we build upon. So, if a portion of study is missed, the learner has a gap that will hinder all forward movement in understanding mathematics.

Can we as parents help our children get up to speed and excel in math? Absolutely! Some of the reasons learners feel that they cannot excel at math are based on emotional and mythical notions:

  • Myth number one, that certain people are “math” people and everyone else is left out of understanding. The reality is that some minds yearn to solve problems and are therefore more patient and persistent to learn it. The reality is that it takes “patience and persistence” from every learner. The sooner we are determined to understand it and patient when it takes several tries to get it, the faster we will learn new skills.

  • Myth number two, math is hard. It is a puzzle that can be fun to find the answer to and with the proper understanding it is empowering to find the solution. When the building blocks are all in place, it is logical and easy to solve.

  • Self-esteem and confidence play a large part. If the learner feels they are not good at math and have a low self-esteem in their abilities, they live down to their own assessment.

  • Familiarity - use the language and calculations in everyday life for the learner. Let them hear you calculate and estimate while shopping, cutting their pizza, sharing snacks, and doing crafts. The more they realize how often math is used daily, the more familiar and less foreign the language sounds.

  • Together – work with teachers and assessments to fill in the gaps. If there are gaps, the next levels become harder. It is not the student’s fault and will tear down their self-esteem even more. It is a language and needs to be taught that way.

The Children's Museum of Montana's Whizzard Academy is working with students, families, and teachers daily. We want to help make sure this generation has every opportunity to be successful and grow to their full potential.

For more information on how you can work with your child or our programs, please contact Heather or Tim at (406) 452-6661 or

By Sherrie Neff

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