The basis for success in elementary mathematics is mastering basic facts which mean that a student should acquire the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide basic numbers automatically (O’Connell, 2009). Regardless the importance thereby attached, it is very hard to dismiss the relationship between mental computation of basic facts and the memorizing power of a student. The strategies-based approach emphasizes mostly on developing mastering skills from the natural informal knowledge that the child has (Andrew & Carroll, 1999).
This is better than the usual rote approach which presented such drawbacks as inducing anxiety due to demand for quick performance. Also, students had a tendency to adapt the element of memorizing facts in these rigid schedules rather than application of thoughts in solving mathematical problems. Strategies-based approach requires that the natural thinking of children is utilized whereby informal mathematical knowledge is set as basis to understand harder concepts after learning simpler facts.
To help students master basic facts, the elementary step involves testing them on subtraction and addition where they are required to work out simple tests in real life situation. In the meantime, the students should be encouraged to develop patterns, think logically and use their manipulative skills in solving these exercises. It should be noted here that unlike adults who will process this information directly from their memory, children will use the direct manual counting, a technique referred to as direct-modeling technique.
As their understanding gradually develop over time, some students would tend to grasp concepts at a faster rates than others where they can use even more than one strategy in solving mathematical problems. It is therefore very important to request students to share their strategies with their peers in class in order to help them advance to more efficient methods and encourage development of self-invented strategies (Steinberg, 1985).
? References Andrew, C. I. and Carroll, M. W. (1999). Teaching children mathematics, 5 (9):508(8) O’Connell, S. (2009). Mastering basic math facts. Retrieved August 09, 2010, from http://www. qualityteacherdevelopment. com/blog/25/mastering-basic-math-facts/ Steinberg, R. M. , (1985). Instruction on derived facts strategies in addition and subtraction. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education , 16: 337-55.
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