This week, we are featuring the upcoming and FIERCE new brand, MathKit, founded by Leslie Gilbert.
MathKit is focused on helping kids and young girls in particular develop their math skills and confidence early on, with a little help from their parents!
MathKit applies research on math and mindset to help kids, especially girls, persist through mistakes and struggle. “Kids need math skills to keep their future open,” says Gilbert, founder of MathKit, “but many girls lose math confidence and shy away from hard problems as early as third grade.”
Gilbert wants to make “playing math” as easy and inviting as bedtime reading. She designed the kit to tackle addition and subtraction “math facts” from 0-20, a task that schools ask families to practice at home. “This often doesn’t go very well,” says Gilbert sympathetically, “Kids are tired, they don’t want to be drilled, and they get stressed out by timers.” MathKit helps parents nurture a “math learning mindset.” A positive mindset towards learning math is a powerful predictor of math success, especially for girls. MathKit focuses on math strategies, not drill. Each kit comes with a set of hands-on math learning tools to help kids visualize math.
MATHKIT IS RESEARCH-BASED, AND CREATED BY A MATH TEACHER MOM.
Math learning in the early grades is a strong predictor of future success. According to a study out of Northwestern University, “mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement.”
Families support literacy development at home by reading together. However, many families don’t know what to do to support math in K-3.
Through MathKit, Gilbert has created a system of games, learning tools, and parent tips to make it simple for every family to support math effectively at home. Even better, every game is truly FUN, so your child wants to play again and again. MathKit shows you how to naturally build the teaching into your turns of the games, just like a math teacher mom would. If you struggled with math, the resources also teach you how to explain YOUR thinking, use hands-on learning tools, and keep the learning relaxed. Just by playing the games, kids will see patterns, make connections, and learn to think flexibly. They provide plenty of chances for practice, too!
MATHKIT EMBRACES EVIDENCE ON MATH LEARNING AND MINDSET.
Evidence shows that high speed drills, rote memorization, and penalizing mistakes can create math learning issues for many children. And yet, most math games designed to help children master math facts rely on all of these.
Successful math learners learn slowly sometimes, make plenty of mistakes, and use a variety of approaches to solve problems. MathKit games help your child gain confidence by celebrating those qualities that lead to success in math: persistence, patience, and flexible thinking. None of MathKit’s games are timed or high speed. Your child will get faster at her facts by plenty of practice and making connections, not by stressful drills. And there are no penalties in the games for making mistakes. So many children respond to mistakes with stress and frustration. MathKit helps you show your child how to work through confusion to reach understanding.
RESEARCHERS HAVE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT WHAT TURNS GIRLS OFF TO MATH, AND MATHKIT HELPS YOU FIX IT.
Researchers have found that experiences in elementary school have a lasting impact on girls’ career choices. And, while we have made progress, there is still a huge gap between the number of men and women going into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Research shows that, as early as third grade, many girls have developed low self-confidence in math. Girls are disproportionately vulnerable to teachers’ and parents’ math anxiety. And the kids most likely to give up on a hard math problem are high achieving girls. Girls are more likely to hear praise about how “smart” they are, and react by feeling afraid to try.
MATHKIT’S METHODS ARE BASED ON STUDIES OF SUCCESSFUL MATH LEARNERS, AND HOW THEY UNDERSTAND ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION.
MathKit is built on the idea that addition and subtraction form the foundation for all future math. And being able to do computations smoothly and easily will help your child as she moves forward. If an older child has to slow down substantially every time she adds or subtracts, she will lose the flow of new ideas. That doesn’t mean that math facts have to be learned via rote memorization.
Research has shown that successful math learners use a variety of strategies to solve problems, and develop excellent number sense. MathKit was developed based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommendations for developing math fact mastery. MathKit comes with everything families need, including learning tools and how to use them to support understanding. NCTM’s method of fact learning is teachable, and MathKit makes it easy for all families!
TIME SPENT PLAYING WITH YOUR CHILD IS TIME WELL SPENT.
Playing MathKit games with your child is an opportunity to spend time together and deepen your relationship. You’ll learn from each other and have fun while you’re at it. What could be better? These aren’t math activities that I am calling “games.” They are real games, with real fun. You and your child will both love playing them together.