(CASE STUDY APPROACH)

Dissemination of knowledge related to reading and writing motivation is new endeavour in yahoo club. On 2nd june,1999 one club started in yahoo to discuss this challanging issue. Currently, club members discussed one case,described below,  from different perspectives freely and posted their views on the message board of the club. Here is the compiled work of those messages.

Discussants: queenou,prabir2 and dduttaroy

Xena's problem

"My daughter, Xena, 10 years old, grade V, gets good marks in all subjects except math. She does not find any interest in math.Give me some suggestions so that I can motivate her to mathematics ".

Suggestion to case study 1:
Development of interest in mathematics requires consideration of two important development phases - intellectual and personality development.

In terms of Piaget's theory of intellectual development, Xena is passing through concrete operational phase. This starts from 7 years and continues upto 11 years. This is the age of emergence of logical thinking, conservation of number,length and weight.

In terms of Erikson's theory on personality development, Xena is passing through the stage of 'Industry vs. inferiority'.This age starts from 6 years and continues upto 12 years. The child at this age is busy with building blocks, creating objects and develops feeling of inferiority due to failure or when she despairs of her tools. At this age,child likes to imitate others.

From the above, it appears that xena could be motivated to math by using following strategies in considering her stages of development.

1.Creative problem solving:

Assign different problem solving tasks those require application of arithmetic reasoning, For example, treasure hunt, and jugglery with numbers or math puzzles. Or you can tell her to build a house for her dolls by cutting paperboard, pasting different sizes of colored sheets on it and give her reinforcement periodically.

2. Communicating math terms:

Use math words (greater than, smaller than, weight, height, length, percentage, half, one-third, one-fourth etc.). Tell her to give you half glass of water or mix one tablespoon of medicine with 1/4th cup of water like that.

3. Shopping:

Tell her to shop with small amount of pennies.

4. Encouragement:

It appears that Xena possesses some fear of failure in doing math. Possibly, she becomes anxious in doing math and it results her difficulty in concentration. And difficulty in concentration reciprocally deteriorates her performance in math. Here is my suggestion is to assign her some easy math problems and praises her more for her success in front of others. This may reduce her anxiety. And slowly assign her more difficult problems. To increase concentration power,you may start Yogapractice. Encourage your child rather criticize

5. Concentration on her errors:

Try to identify her specific errors in mathematics and determine different strategies to solve those errors.

6. Practice of math by the adult in family:

This is important as the child likes to imitate adult at this stage. Your repeated use of math in front of her may motivate her to understand the value of math.



   Recently, I have introduced one brain storming session to identify the errors in arithmetic.The
   participants are the mothers of children from kindergarten to the 7th grade. And I have noted
   following errors:

   1. Comprehending errors: It includes errors in understanding mathematical concepts as:

   what is addition
   What is subtraction ?
   What is the difference between addition and subtraction ?
   What is the similarity between addition and multiplication
   What is the similarity between subtraction and division
   What is the similarity between multiplication and division?

   2. Linguistic error : Failure to translate symbolic problem into written problem

   3. Errors in grouping : Failure to cluster or to make a group among the problems

   4. Errors in copying the figure correctly

   5. Error in using carried number appropriately

   6. Error in following sequences of mathematical steps

   7. Error in counting objects

   8. Error in learning multiplication tables

   If you can remember some other errors, please reply to this message.


Treasure hunts are a lot of fun for children. The clues can be built upon reading or math. Prepare for the hunt by making clues ahead of time and having small treats available. For example: Walk (39 divided by 3) steps to the right. The next clue is under the (5 times 3)th rock.

Each clue depends upon the clue before and each clue has a math problem of the appropriate difficulty for the child. The point is to make the problems challenging but achievable. At the end a treat can be the reward.

There are a number of computer games based on math that are a lot of fun for the child who has access to a computer. Libraries and bookstores have puzzle books with a math focus.


   1.Addition problem
   2.Multiplication problems
   3.Division problem
   4.Subtraction problem