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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:34 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:04 pm
Posts: 1990
I posted previously about my ds and the fact that, having always being great at maths, he had started to struggle a bit (this was in year 8).
I was wondering if anyone had any specific suggestions to help him (and me!) with his issues.
He's very bright and at the moment his target grade for maths is an 8 (this is mainly based on CAT scores though at this stage, not on current performance). Currently though I don't think he has any chance of getting an 8 even though he is able. I don't mind what he gets but I want to help him as best I can.
He seems to just freeze when he sees a question that is worded differently from previous questions. He says he doesn't know where to start. He does his homework in the kitchen and if I'm there I ask him basic starter questions and he (mostly) soon gets it and is fine. But I'm not going to be there all the time or in an exam situation. I assumed my asking him these questions would naturally lead to his doing it himself but it doesn't seem to.
Part of me thinks it might be laziness but he does want to do well so I'm not sure.
Example recently: they were calculating the length of an arc based on the angle or calculating the angle based on the length of the arc. He was "I don't know what to do" so I tried to get him to understand the principles. The sum was with a circumference of 10cm and an angle of 12 degrees. I asked what the answer would be if the circumference was 10cm and the angle was 90 degrees. He said 2.5 cm. So I told him to write that sum out and work out the stages. But he was just "well it's obviously a quarter". When I asked why he couldn't really tell me in enough detail to work out that he was dividing 90 by 360 therefore had to divide 12 by 360.
Sorry, long post.
He only has this problem in maths (and a bit in science) where he seems to struggle to extrapolate.
Does anyone have any experience/suggestions to help?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:19 pm
Posts: 75
Hi loobylou,

I've been on a break from the forum for awhile but couldn't keep away.

Spoke to my DH who is the head of Maths at a local comprehensive and he advised that this is an issue with conceptual maths. He stated the maths spec has changed and children are finding it harder to put the practical maths into a conceptual idea. He advised that you have the right approach by taking it back to the actual maths principle to ensure that it is understood and then assisting with using it in the problem. Conceptual ideas are not built in one day or even two, they are developed after repeated exposure to a particular mathematical idea in various contexts. Students will struggle and this process takes time and is a common problem.

So you are not alone.....


PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:53 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:00 pm
Posts: 332
One of my DS is a bit like this. If maths was "traditional", ie apply a known method to solve a problem, he would self start and get everything right. But anything where the question was open ended and he had to think outside the box a bit, he would just say he didn't know what to do. A good thing that the maths department has done is to set a weekly "problem" in addition to traditional maths homework from the textbook. The problems aren't compulsory but they were offered merits if they got them right. Initially he found it hard to start/think about how to use the information. But after a bit of help on the first couple, I could see him getting better at these problems, looking at the given information and jotting down possible ways to solve the problem. Now he really enjoys the weekly problems and actually looks forward to them. I think these have been a really good way of encouraging independent working/thinking.

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