Irvine Math Tutor Tips: 5 Math Skills to Review the First Month Back at School
Kids are back to school and learning all sorts of new topics. Some teachers will do tons of review while others will get straight into new information. When it comes to math, students needs to feel confident about the information they learned in years past so they can build upon those concepts throughout the academic year. Although each grade level is different, there are a few things every student in elementary school can work on to make sure they’re ready for whatever information the teacher presents.
1. Using a four function calculator
A four-function calculator is essential when it comes to math at this level. Although most teachers want students to be able to do things by hand when they’re learning them, being able to do a calculation is advantageous in many instances. Once a kid knows how to use a calculator, it’s incredibly simple. However, if they’ve forgotten how to use it from last year, it can become a little bit challenging. Younger students might confuse the multiplication sign with the plus sign and come up with an entirely different answer than they meant to. If students haven’t used a calculator for a while, it’s a good idea to sit down with them and make sure they know how to use it consistently.
2. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
The four most important elements of elementary math are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Many students struggle with their times tables and long division. If the concepts and steps aren’t making sense, it’s a good idea for students to review these topics before their teacher presents new information. If multiplication and division have not yet been presented in the classroom, kids can work on addition and subtraction. One of the most common mistakes students make is to subtract when they were meant to add or vice versa. It’s a good idea to do a few practice problems at home to make sure they are on track.
3. Word problems
Word problems can be really tricky and can make it more difficult to find the correct answer to a problem. The first step is to turn the word problem into a calculation. Many word problems also contain unnecessary information that students need to ignore to get the right answer. One way to start is for students to cross out irrelevant information with a pencil so they can visually focus on what’s important. Word problems contain extra steps and are more difficult in general so it’s a good idea for kids to review before too much time goes by in school year (READ: The Importance of Repetition in Elementary School).
Dealing with money can be a challenge for many younger students. Most math workbooks contain several pages of basic financial calculations so students can practice. However, kids will often confuse what is left of the decimal point with what is right of the decimal point. This is a skill best learned through repetition, and it’s a great thing for kids to review at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, students should work with actual money to understand where it comes from. They can practice making change or counting out different numbers to understand the difference between a nickel, a dime, a dollar, and so on.
5. Checking your work
It’s important for math students of all ages to check their work. Many students are tempted to rush through their assignments so they can move on to something else. However, this is where students make mistakes and end up having to do the entire assignment over again. Before getting too far on their practice sheets, students should make sure they have used the right sign and did their computations correctly. This can be checked by a parent or tutor for a while, but kids should be learning to check their work on their own before too long.
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