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Symbolic Math Found Linked to the 'Sense' of Numerosity

Photo by jbgeekdad
One of the thinks I've doing for many years is to be teaching instrumental matematics and it's quite hard to work around concepts when learners lack of some 'number sense'. Major complains are always received from students struggling in math and teachers sometimes have to curb in order to justify credit and grades. Justin Halberda, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University brings good news to us, he was leading a research, which asked 64 14-year-old boys and girls to look at videos on a computer screen and estimate whether there were more flashing yellow dots or blue dots.

Results showed that teenagers who did well on a test that measured their number sense were much more likely to have gotten good grades in math classes. This is the first time scientists have established a link between a primitive, intuitive sense (concept) of numbers and performance in math classes.

We are talking about here, is what you and I use when we're getting on a bus and trying to figure out which door to go through, we quickly scan the bus to see if there are more people on the front of the bus or the back of the bus. "We've discovered that a child's ability to quickly estimate how many things are in a group significantly predicts their performance in school mathematics all the way back to kindergarten," quotes to Halberda, the author of the original post in the New York Times.

French neuroscientist, Stanislas Dehaene, who has pioneered research in the filed has praised the new work saying, it's a "Beautiful demonstration...we long suspected that symbolic mathematics was linked to the sense of numerosity or 'numerousness' of sets of concrete objects."

Why this is important for education? Because, the results of this work could lead to ways to identify students lacking the 'number sense' and who may have trouble with math in their scholar future, which is very disturbing both for students and teachers.

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