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Russian School of Mathematics

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by butterflyice, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. VanithaSudhir

    VanithaSudhir Platinum IL'ite

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    @hrasto.. Oh you teach Vedic Maths.. I learnt it when in High School. Not under any teacher. It was Self learning. I want to put my DD also to it. Of course, not now. She is only 5.5 yrs old. As of now, I teach her the basic Maths stuff like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
    She also goes to Aloha Mind Math class.
     
  2. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    @hrastro i agree. i know some kids in my dd's classmates do memorise problems even at college level. i knew many kids who memorise the problems stating that these problems were the ones that came frequently in the last years question papers and would again be repeated.

    no wonder this year the cbse 12 exams maths paper has caused a uproar, though cbse is to be blamed partly for not giving heads up on the pattern change..


    I prefer and preferred worksheets and application based working out. we had fun working out maths riddles, maths puzzles..mr.googles comes handy and gives you loads of worksheets based on class levels.

    if you can you can check out AMTI books. these are equally good, for trying.
     
  3. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @hrastro, thanks for the many ideas.

    Right now the older one is doing only addition and subtraction at school. They do many of the stuff that you talked about. Its very hands-on. We also do such activities with legos and pistachio shells, tamarind seeds at home. We play cards and simple games which re-inforce addition and subtraction. When I give him problems in division and multiplication like what you suggested, he sometimes gets them.

    Just yesterday when walking back from school he said his school has 24 classes. I asked how did you know, did you go around counting all the classrooms? He says there are 6 levels in school (Kindergarten to 5th grade), each level has 4 classes, so there are 6 times 4 classes in all. I don't know how much that it is, so I did 4 times 6 which is nothing but 2 times 6 plus 2 times 6. That is 12 plus 12 which is 24!! Needless to say I am thrilled!! Because he did all this mentally with little effort from me or from school (they aren't doing multiplication or division yet).

    There are 2 issues that I want to address through classes.

    1. The school does great on practical math. I mean that they use hand-on activities to explain concepts. What is lacking is reinforcement. They don't practise many problems or get much homework. I would like them to work more problems, it doesnt happen. I guess parents have to do that bit, but most parents at school do not want any homework at the elementary level and are against any kind of testing and memorization. Its hard to find out how much the kid knows and how well he remembers what he knows over a period of time. In India we had mid-term exams and quarterly, half-yearly and annual exams when you studied all that you had been taught the whole year. Continuous revision is necessary to remember stuff. It doesnt happen here. TO make matters worse, there is no textbook which you can revise with the kids. We have to look outside of school for the re-inforcement and revision.

    In short, there is no way to gauge how well the kid is doing in math and how well he remembers what he has learnt over the course of time.

    2. The second objective of sending to classes is to develop a mathematical way of thinking. @hrastro, you summed it up very well in your post about LCF. I did see a video somewhere on how math is taught in E Europe sometime ago, unable to find the link, will post it when I find it. I have heard and read that USSR had the best system of teaching math, it was one of the few areas which was free of govt intervention. Back then they produced great mathematicians. Many Field's Medal winners too. I am just trying to find out if RSM is doing atleast some if not all of what they did back in USSR.

    I can handle the reinforcement part but mathematical thinking is a far cry for me. Like you said, problem solving skills is very important. I am always looking at resources aimed at this. I dont know if I am able to convey what I am looking for.

    My son attends violin lessons (one of my ways to develop mathematical thinking;)). He was able to add fractions in a rough way through music theory. His teacher was surprised too.

    I get both of my kids to help me in cooking sometimes so I sneak in some math as well as gyan about how good Indian food is ;)

    Your question about gifted students - every Indian/Asian kid in US is gifted!!! ;)
    There is always a race to push kids, to ensure they do all the four operations, fractions, decimals by the time they are 7 or 8! Never mind that the usual school syllabus covers all this stuff by the 5th grade. The way this is done is by enrolling in all sorts of classes like Kumon, Abacus etc. They start these classes when the kid is 4 or 5 years old, so the kid is always gifted as he is ahead in class. When you are gifted this way I guess you can take tests and enter special classes/schools if your school district offers those facilities. Unless the classes advertise themselves as catering to gifted students, parents wouldnt touch them by the end of a bargepole.

    I am still trying to figure out the American education system, so probably what many Indian/Asian parents do probably makes sense at the end of it all. I only know for sure that my kid would be bored to tears if I made him do Kumon.

    That said, there are genuinely gifted students and good classes that cater to them. There is such a kid in his violin class and when he plays all of us are watching him open-mouthed. He is that good.

    My kid is a normal kid with host of interests. He did pass some test conducted by a university and attend some classes there. But then many kids do that, no extraordinary skill is required. The kids are of course bright and motivated, the parents even more so and are able to pay the high fees there.

    The memory game that you suggested is very good. I remember doing this as a kid. Like you rightly guessed my younger one is good at this, she has a good memory. SHe is my to-do list, grocery shopping list. I have to approach math in a different way with her, its so easy for her to memorise.
     
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  4. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @laks09, when my son was little he didnt know what to do with legos. I used to build and he would just watch. Over course of time he took to it. I am sure your little one will take to it over time. Does he like cars? There is this excellent game which my kids love. Thinkfun Rush hour junior. Lots of strategy and thinking. In fact I love all games that Thinkfun makes.

    I am impressed by what I have read of the Swedish/Finnish education system too. In fact I find the education system in many other European countries pretty darn impressive. The system can only be as good as the teachers there.

    What happens in US is that they tend to pick and choose from from various countries be it education or food without adopting or understanding the whole system. For eg Singapore math is very good, there is a huge market for singapore math in US. But for all the advantages of SM to flow in, it has to be taught the way in which the designers of the books intended it to be taught. It gets diluted sometimes by the need to adhere to Common Core and sometimes by the quality of teachers. There are many activities that are in the Teacher's manual. If they are skipped due to inability of teacher or paucity of time, there is not much value. In the end the end-product is no where the original singapore math that is taught in Singapore. This could happen with any curriculum be it finnish or japanese.
     
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  5. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @shanvy, isn't it wonderful that Finland is doing away with subject-wise teaching? Although implementing it could have many hurdles.

    A friend in Bangalore says her kid's CBSE school does try to do this sort of thing. A fifth grader studying optics was asked to collect Hindi poems on light and shadows. Cool right!

    When I was in school, one of my favorite things to imagine (apart from cute boys ) was a school like this where kids read Tolstoy, created a play with props, sang Russian songs and dressed up in rich Russian clothes(never mind that Tolstoy couldnt stand the bourgeouise!) and read Russian books on astronomy.
    Too bad, back then I didnt know about Russian math, else I would have incorporated that one too. :)
     
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  6. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

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    He not only got that multiplication is just repeated addition, he also got that multiplication is distributive !

    Your 2nd objective is already there, the lamp is already lit - as is obvious from his theorizing on 24 :) You just have to keep adding ghee and checking the wick !

    When you go to a supermarket with him, ask him to get you things, ask him to get a cheaper/bigger alternative, encourage him to make some small decisions !

    Usually when I take my son to a book fair (He is a bookworm) - I give him a budget of 200-300 for just story books (Workbooks and self-improvement stuff is from my pocket :)) - and let him calculate and maximise his story books and make those decisions !

    Or when he wants to pack snacks for school - I tell him to find the ones that will last the longest, and fill your tummy the most or the cheapest ! So give him many combinations to work out!

    When I make rice (in a pressure cooker), I used to call my son - I will measure the rice, he can multiply the volume by 3 and add water !

    If you get something for the two of them - ask them to divide it up fairly (fair is different from equal) between the two of them !
    I'll give an example
    Say you get some snack packets - strawberry flavor and banana flavor - 10 packets each. Now, say your 1st one likes strawberry more than banana and the 2nd one likes banana more than strawberry - ask them to give points for banana and strawberry and then ask them to divide it in the ratio such that they get equal number of packets but in the ratio of their liking ! So, it could be 6,4,4,6 or 7,3,3,7 or even 2,8,8,2 !

    As for reinforcement - if you want worksheets and exams - there are hundreds available on google - just type in the required key words

    I usually create my own worksheets for basic operations (I'm good with excel and random number functions) ! I create 250 questions in a single sheet - and leave it on the table - every morning, before school, after he gets ready, he spends 5 minutes to complete how many ever sums can be completed (10-20 sums) !! I later correct it with a different colored pen for each day - and we can see the improvement in the accuracy and the number of sums completed in 5 minutes !
    When he gets full marks for five continuous days, time to generate a new type of worksheet :)

    That would be enough practice at this age :)
     
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  7. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    Lots of great ideas @hrastro! Thanks a ton.

    Will implement the worksheet idea from tomorrow :)
     
  8. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    @butterflyice i know what you mean by cbse is already doing. i find all that upto 5-8th after that slowly the pressure to perform adds on and then you are pushed towards scoring marks and the percentile adds more pressure. both my kids have participated in loads of these projects, talks and debates, but what it actually boils down to is a rote learning. and a good teacher is a great boon that is not there for many kids.

    I still can teach some of the concepts based on how i was taught..i wanted that kind of foundation and i worked on that with my kids at home. it was more like hands on practice. if we talk about reflections i would unscrew the mirror of the scooter and compare with the plane mirror.. scrape out the silver paint at the back of a small mirror. also check the images on power glasses..borrow few glasses from neighbours too..

    as far as possible it has been hands on for us. maths currency learn while shopping.

    Learning is more of interactive and that is what helped and helps my son a lot.

    For example if we are looking at a stone, it would start with the shape, the volume, the weight, then the density and how to calculate the density and comparison..sometimes the formulas are also discussed. the various formulas..about how it would refract in water..what would be the angle.. (ooops..i got carried away..)

    russian system has been great. no wonder irodov is considered a wonderful book for general physics even today.

    you can check here for a sample of russian mathematics and olympiads..
    Kids Math Books

    and if you are interested in looking at older russian books mainly maths and physics..
    Mir Books | Books from the Soviet Era

    And we do have a mathematical association whose exams are equally challenging. the winners get trained for the international olympiads..they have books that are nice to try.

    index
     
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  9. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @shanvy, you are such a wonderful teacher! Your kids are lucky to have you teach them.

    Thanks for the links. Are the AMTI books available at regular bookstores in India?
     
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  10. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    @butterflyice it is the other way around. they manage to accept the confusions that arise between two different methods of explaining. i try to do a little justice to the knowledge that i got..

    amti books are available only by post or person. the place is so small and with no pomp, there are just 4 staff who do a wonderful job..
     
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