Preschool math lessons: A developmental guide for the science-minded parent

Preschool math lessons don’t have to be tedious. They don’t even have to focus on counting. Here I review the highlights of research about early mathematics education, along with specific tips for creating mathematical experiences that are playful and stimulating. I also present some research-inspired number activities and math games designed to help preschoolers hone … Continue reading

Math before words: What babies know about numbers

© 2008 – 2012 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved What do babies know about numbers? Back in the 20th century, people assumed that infants lacked “number sense.” But today’s cognitive scientists have overturned the old ideas. Experimental research reveals a fascinating new world of baby cognition, one in which babies can recognize the approximate difference … Continue reading

Mancala games for kids: Count and capture games that promote strategic thinking

mancala board made from wood

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Mancala games to motivate young mathematicians Looking for activities to motivate your school-aged kids to count and think strategically? Try out mancala. Also known as “count and capture” games, mancala games have an ancient pedigree. There is archeological evidence that these games existed in the Middle East … Continue reading

Number Sense: Making math intuitive

© 2008 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved In his excellent book, The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics, Revised and Updated Edition, Stanislas Dehaene argues that kids go astray when teachers emphasize calculation over conceptual understanding. Left to their own devices, kids discover strategies that make math meaningful. Unfortunately, however, kids are often … Continue reading