When it comes to adding up it's experience that counts, scientists have found.This seems perfectly reasonable to anyone except extreme fuzzies and certain members of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. As I've said for years, it's not "drill and kill", it's "drill and skill".
Research carried out on elementary school-age children has revealed that drilling children on simple addition and multiplication may pay off.
According to the results, as children's brains develop remembering sums helps them add up faster.
'Experience really does matter,' said Dr Kathy Mann Koepke of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research.
Healthy children start making that switch between counting to what's called fact retrieval when they're eight to nine-years-old, when they're still working on fundamental addition and subtraction.
How well children make that shift to memory-based problem-solving is known to predict their ultimate math achievement.
Those who fall behind 'are impairing or slowing down their math learning later on,' Mann Koepke said...
But that's not the whole story.
Next, Menon's team put 20 adolescents and 20 adults into the MRI machines and gave them the same simple addition problems. It turns out that adults don't use their memory-crunching hippocampus in the same way. Instead of using a lot of effort, retrieving six plus four equals 10 from long-term storage was almost automatic, Menon said.
In other words, over time the brain became increasingly efficient at retrieving facts. Think of it like a bumpy, grassy field, NIH's Mann Koepke explained.
Walk over the same spot enough and a smooth, grass-free path forms, making it easier to get from start to end.
If your brain doesn't have to work as hard on simple maths, it has more working memory free to process the teacher's brand-new lesson on more complex math.
'The study provides new evidence that this experience with math actually changes the hippocampal patterns, or the connections. They become more stable with skill development,' she said.
'So learning your addition and multiplication tables and having them in rote memory helps.'
Monday, August 18, 2014
Yes, Children Should Memorize The Multiplication Tables
I've always thought that it worked something like this, so it's nice to have the fine folks at Stanford backing me up: