Did your child use ST Math at school this year? If so, their teacher may assign ST Math games for summer practice. In ST Math, the puzzles start off simple and then get more challenging as the student progresses. When they reach a challenging problem, your child may ask for your help.
The goal of ST Math is to promote problem solving! Instead of giving your child answers while playing ST Math, ask questions to help them figure it out on their own. Try asking the following prompts to help them think through the problem:
What do you notice about the puzzle?
What can you click?
What can you do to get JiJi across the screen?
What question is this puzzle asking?
Describe the strategy that you are going to use.
Describe what you see after you click. What did you learn?
What will you do now? What do you expect to see?
What did you learn from the previous level that can help you here?
You may need to ask these questions several times to help your child think through the math in the game. Encourage them to take risks, and ask them to explain what they learn from wrong answers.
It’s also important that your child spend enough time on the program to make an impact—the ideal being 30 minutes each session. This will allow them to master concepts and persevere.
Another idea is to encourage your child to go back to the previous level in ST Math and play that puzzle. What did they learn from that level that can help them with the level on which they are stuck? Take your facilitation even further by asking questions to help your child explain what they are learning.
Can you explain how you solved the puzzle?
Can you solve it in a different way?
What math skills are you using to solve the puzzle?
Explore The Problem Solving Process Together
One more way to further your child's learning is to take them through The Problem Solving Process. The goal is to get students involved in the process of learning which requires noticing what is going on (in an ST Math puzzle, on the soccer field, or learning an instrument) and then starting a cycle of predicting, testing, and analyzing. When the learning is successful, it's connected to what is already known and extends knowledge.
Here are some resources for your child and you to use as you find different ways to work through The Problem Solving Process this summer—especially as they play ST Math!
Reading with your child is considered an integral part of a daily or nightly routine. But shouldn't math be equally important?
You can use ST Math to promote mathematical conversation with one of these ideas below:
Ask your child to select an ST Math level they have completed and teach it to a family member.
Build a summer math word wall with vocabulary words they use while explaining the games.
Create word problems that go along with each puzzle.
Write a math story based on the visual picture in a level.
For more ideas on how to bring math into your family's summer routine, we encourage your child and you to join JiJi's Summer Math Club! Explore different mathematical activities as a family and track them along the way. If your child completes at least one activity a week for a total of six weeks during the summer, you can enter them to win one large JiJi plush! Learn more here.
However you choose to spend the summer, we hope it's a time filled with fun, rest, learning and memories for your whole family!
This blog was originally posted June 9, 2015 and has been updated.
About the Author
Twana is Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction at MIND Research Institute. Follow her on Twitter