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Flexible-Brain Training Makes Math Fun

Memorization is an outdated and ineffective method to learn times tables and division facts

Flexible-brain training is unique to MathHacked and starts on the very first day. For generations multiplication has been taught starting with the 1’s and ending with the 12’s through rote memorization. This approach is beyond boring and tedious, and it’s downright rare to hang on to those facts for any length of time.

Joshua Davis wrote an article entitled “A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses” in 2013 for “Wired’ Business. In it, he states, “The [traditional] system as a whole educates millions and is slow to recognize or adopt successful innovation. It’s a system that was constructed almost two centuries ago to meet the needs of the industrial age. Now that our society and economy have evolved beyond that era, our schools must also be reinvented.” Here, here!

And to quote Stanford professor, Jo Boaler: “Too much emphasis on rote memorization inhibits students’ abilities to think about numbers creatively, to build them up and break them down.” She cites her own 2009 study, which found that low-achieving students tended to memorize methods and were unable to interact with numbers flexibly.

In other words, we can memorize our times tables, but don’t have much power to do anything with them, at least with any kind of ease.

Kids quickly get overwhelmed and take on the belief they aren’t good at math

In learning their multiplication facts,  kids generally start with optimism, but by the “threes” they are already convinced they aren’t smart at math. Only a small fraction of the kids rise to the top–not because they are smarter, but simply because memorization is their thing.

And so the self labeling begins: “Some kids are good at math, but I’m not.” Or worse, the child gets a label from the teacher that can devastate for a lifetime. Many adults have expressed to us the pain they experienced as a child (and beyond) due to degrading comments about their supposed lack of ability to do math; decades after the situation the emotion is still raw, and tears spring to the surface unbidden. One mother told us she and her sister still have PTSD from their grade school experience. We initially thought she was trying to be funny, but it quickly became apparent she was deadly serious. She had decided to home school her children to avoid the same pain for her kids.

Most mothers tell us they aren’t good at math.  We believe this perception came from being required to learn their times tables through rote memorization. (Followed by the compounding overwhelm from new concepts rapidly being piled on a shaky  foundation.)

The solution is simple and sure. With a flexible-brain training we have engaged 100% of the kids we’ve worked with (nope, not just the few “smart” kids at the top of the class). In this process kids actually discover they’re good at math (using a system that frees the mind to be creative).

Flexible-brain training leaves the mind free to see solutions

With MathHacked, even little tykes put on the “I am Smart” label from Day One. Quickly, they are able to jump between operations in their brains, and by the time they know ALL their times tables–i.e., the math facts pop out without thinking–their minds are free to notice that they already know their division facts. Division is NOT a whole new mountain to climb. It just takes a mind that’s free to be flexible.

With this solid foundation in place (math facts solid, flexible brain and “Dang, I’m smart!”), our experience is that kids are able to take off on their regular math lessons independently. They want to. They are their own tutor.

Just like they know they can figure out electronics, they KNOW they are good at math. 

It is hard to understate the power of really believing you can do something. How far reaching it is, and how it spurs a person on to greatness, passion and mission.

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