Math & Beyond

How will Mathematics help you with your Intellectual growth?

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4 November 2020

Read time: 4 minutes

Introduction

Remember the first time when you touched a hot container out of curiosity in your childhood? You quickly learned that it is not pleasant to do so.

When you first tasted your favorite candy, your brain learned that it is something you like. In fact, you are learning at this very moment through this blog.

Learning doesn’t just mean learning from books. It involves learning from surroundings, emotional, social, psychological, intellectual, and so on.

Child trying to touch the stove

Your intellectual development is the result of all these learning experiences and mathematics helps you fast-track your intellectual growth.

Famous Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget’s work is of immense importance here. He propounded that people have an innate need to understand how the world works and to find order, structure, and predictability in their existence.

This need is called the drive for equilibrium or intellectual growth. Ways of thinking change as the equilibrium is changed because of new experiences.

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Let’s explore how he has elaborated on the learning process.

Early intellectual development: kid trying to understand colors using rubik’s cube

Cognitive development is divided into four stages namely:

  • Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years)
  • Pre – Operational (2 to 7 years)
  • Concrete Operational (7 to 11 years)
  • Formal Operations (11 years and forward)

Each stage corresponds to a particular and tangible learning aspect.

Sensorimotor Stage: From birth to 2 years of age

In the sensorimotor stage, it is all about thinking through senses and motor actions. Continuous touching, manipulation, looking, listening, and even biting and chewing are some of the common actions.

Such actions allow children to learn about their surroundings. Implementation of this theory can be seen through a simple game of hide and seek with a toddler where recognition of object/person motivates the search for hidden objects.

Kids playing kitchen setup and developing metacognitive skills

Preoperational Stage: From 2 to 7 years of age

In the preoperational stage, the children are usually involved with dramatic plays say, for example, two friends playing doctor/patient or imitating police/thief scenarios.

It may seem simple to an adult, but observe that they are already thinking on two levels at once – one imaginative and the other realistic.

This dual processing of experience makes dramatic play an early example of metacognition. It is nothing but the monitoring of thinking itself. As it is evident that metacognition is a highly desirable skill for success in school.

Mother teaching basic math skills like addition and subtraction to her daughter

Concrete Operational Stage: From 7 to 11 years of age

The concrete operational stage is the most crucial as the ability to think logically starts developing.

Newly acquired skills can be observed such as seriation, classification, spotting odd ones and basic arithmetic like ‘If something is given to the child then it’s an addition and something taken away is subtraction’.

They can quickly figure out that if they get two more candies then how many more or the total number of candies they have now. Sharing/dividing candies among themselves are just the basis of Mathematical learning.

A simple intellect that when the same thing is to be done for their number of friends, it can be calculated through multiplication which is nothing but a faster addition tool, starts functioning here.

For this, they do not need a formal Mathematics education per se as humans strive to think logically or Mathematically.

 Child learning simple math and colors through abacus

If concrete rules of a subject are taught properly and effectively at this stage, it will provide a solid academic foundation for Mathematics to the child.

Math learning plays an enormous part here as this is where they need to connect Math to life.

It has been observed that when a particular word problem is restructured around their immediate surroundings, the comprehension increases manifold by itself.

Visualization is set in motion by the child himself/herself. This stage is the foundation stone of effective learning.

Formal Operations Stage: Above 12 years of age

The formal operations stage is more about reasoning and representation of both hypothetical and abstract problems.

At this stage, the child can apply concepts learned in the previous stage to action. This is where the construction of learning takes place.

Teenagers playing a Complex Board Game, Catan

They need not be told to solve problems. Problem-solving comes naturally to one's mind. 

They will try to mend their broken things on their own. Self–motivation, and discipline are most organically developed in this stage.

 
Important notes to remember
 
The principal goal of education is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.”
–Jean Piaget
 

All these stages can be directly mapped with Mathematical learning. In fact, every stage has its Mathematical counterpart.

From the recognition of numerals to stories built around numbers (word problems) and the application of basic arithmetic to real-life situation analogies, a child inherently develops an analytical thinking pattern. 

Conclusion

Learning Mathematics inevitably impacts our intellect as Math is not just a subject but a life skill. It’s the language of patterns.

To attain synchronicity between Math learning and intellectual growth, it is imperative that technology should be made a part of teaching.

Solving math puzzles and learning through visual representations of math concepts can help your child to get better at mathematics and more importantly it will build their interest in the subject.

You can even try the ‘learn and reward’ method to teach your kids. Take a simple topic, teach them interactively, and give them a reward.

Child playing with clay and colours

Cuemath has designed amazing math puzzles for students that will fast track their caliber in mathematics, you can check them here.

How do you think mathematics has affected your thinking process and helped in your growth trajectory? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter.

If you want to know more about Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, you can watch this video.

About Cuemath

Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics and coding platform, conducts regular Online Live Classes for academics and skill-development and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is Intellectual growth?

Cognitive or intellectual development means the growth of a child's ability to think and reason.

2. What is Intellectual growth disorder?

Intellectual development disorder (IDD) is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by deficits in general intellectual functioning such as reasoning, planning, judgment, abstract thinking, academic learning and experiential learning. 

 


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