VISUAL MATHEMATICS : Beyond Curriculum Mathematics

It is imperative that mathematics is a real-life skill preposition that propagates the prophecy of learning beyond the classroom. Important life skills mathematics teaches are:

  • Every problem has a solution
  • Follow certain steps and be process-oriented
  • Detailing of data
  • Figure out a solution in the given data and constraint
  • Analytical mindset
  • Creativity through numbers and many more

If you truly try to mull over, one may think that critical skills and real-life application are the way forward. Some of the rudimentary formulae can literally shape up the way we look at the solutions to the problems faced in real life. Sir Srinivasa Ramanujan has aptly said, “An equation is nothing to me unless it expresses the thought of God”. Comprehending the problem statement is equally important in solving mathematics. One has to speak and understand the language of maths.

What is the mathematics language?

One has to understand the language and the sound that mathematics helps to evolve. The child starts learning things by sensory organs touch and feel, smell, seeing and sound then get introduced to patterns, groups and finally introduction to alphabets and numbers. However, there is limited exposure to develop these sensory organs as we go higher up in the formal school environment.

How do we develop computing skills and make justice to the overall brain development?

Let us first understand what is overall brain development? We need to exercise both the hemispheres of the brain. The left part is the logical, calculative, storing numbers mind while the right part is storing visuals, sound clips, and videos often referred to as creative mind. Visualizing a math problem helps in nurturing the brain. Children at a young age have exceptional ability to take the learning ahead if they are exposed to the right kind of learning platform so that they can use this for development which is otherwise not often utilized up to the fullest extent. Calculating and computing skills developed at early ages help gain the confidence and brain capacity building that stays for a lifetime.

How do computing programs help in development?

The coming generation is thinkers and students who are exposed to early childhood development programs will definitely have an edge over others. Programs like Abacus that talk about the development of computing through visualisation. It helps in integrating the conceptual understanding of the left as well as right-brain thereby forming creative wisdom. For them, the processing of information is not only about math but also encompasses other subjects. Creative stimulation is very much needed. This helps the students to outperform their peers. Reliability on gadgets becomes less and the child takes interest in doing arithmetic of up to 10 digits or more calculations. Ability to focus and concentrate, intuitive thinking, understanding place value with formulae and application of concepts in real life helps the child’s overall development. The learning starts from an early age of 4 years and can go up to 13 years. The children start with basic counting, understanding the structure, hand and finger movement and then apply the concept and formulae for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Once the students get acquainted with the basic concepts of understanding numbers then they practice oral calculations and do tables of more than 2 digits orally faster than the electronic device. Students understand the compliments method of 10 and 5 for example 10 = 6 + 4 = 7 + 3 and so on and 5 = 4 + 1 = 3 + 2 and so on. With this compliment technique, they understand the simple arithmetic operation and apply it to more complex calculations and improve their computing skills mentally. There is anxiety for not performing in math which is reduced by practicing calculations on Abacus. The exercises comprising flash-cards, video clips, and auditory questions help stimulate the right kind of sensory organs for overall brain development.

When the children grow up and reach 11 years they should be embraced with higher-order thinking skills and exposed to even larger computing skills. They should understand the meaning of comprehension and problem solving and how these computing skills are applied in the curriculum. The concepts of Vedic Math help children to go beyond mathematics and open a whole new world of math-e-magic. The Vedic Math is based on the 16 sutras (formulae) derived from the Vedas by Shri Bharti Krishna Tirthaji. This comprehension has given a whole new dimension in understanding the calculation concepts. By exploring these formulae and applying more iteration on them, a whole new computing technique can be derived. Whether it’s a 2 digit by 2 digit or 3 digits by 3 digits multiplication or finding the square of a 5 digit number can be as simple as writing A to Z. The interesting part is how it is applied in the curriculum as there are misconceptions that with Vedic Math the students pay less attention to the steps and focus more on answers. Therefore, proper guidance is needed for students in applying the Vedic Math calculation principles. When children embrace higher – order thinking skills, they see a whole new world with confidence and a sense of achievement, gaining the ability to perform boosts their results in improving their Study Quotient. They find creative ways of number crunching and intelligent ways of arriving at the answers which help them to crack competitive exams.

If the techniques of Abacus and Vedic Math are coupled with a conceptual curriculum of math it will do wonders for the students. Today is the world of engagement through inclusive participation as well as immersive content. Keeping that in mind, if the students get that experience of visual mathematics coupled with gamified content and assessments then it’s a real treat to watch how the brain development shapes the new generation. This shall create a society of future thinkers. As Pythagoras has aptly said “Number was the substance of all things”, let us decode these numbers and help improve computing skills.

Sachin Dhakate, Co-founder Wisemindz Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

BE, PGDM IIM Lucknow, and 20+ years in teaching, Edtech, and Corporate.

Wisemindz is an activity-based experiential learning platform that nurtures students’ life skills right from pre-primary level through various mediums of Coding, Computing, Communication, and Business acumen skills.

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The Right And Left Brain

If we go by the medical terms, the brain can be defined as an organ of soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating center of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity. But here are some more vital pieces to understand the brain than just its biological definition. The brain is divided into two parts – The right and the left part. You must have come across some articles or books that have guidelines to improve your creativity and logical thinking. What they are suggesting you is, to work on your right and left brain. People are often described as left-brain thinkers having a strong math and logic skills while the right-brain thinkers are more creative. But, did you know the growth of the right and left brain does not take place simultaneously. When a child is in his growing years mostly in the age group of 3-4 years, it is then the right brain develops. The left part of the brain develops mostly after the child has crossed his 7 years of age. The early years of the child are hence crucial for their development. Now, let us decode the functionalities of the two parts of the brain in details. Let us begin with the right part. Each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. The right part is more a kind of open playground. The unstructured play of imagination, expression and emotional intelligence is all permitted on the right part of the brain. We can even say that the right brain connects us to our infinite sense of being. The left side of the brain is considered to take up activities that involve logic, language, and analytical thinking. The left brain is far more interested in doing. In a nutshell, the left side of the brain tends to control many aspects of language and logic, while the right side tends to handle spatial information and visual comprehension. Hence when we are aiming at the progress of the child, we need to consider the development of both the right and left part of the brain. One needs to take up experiential learning that will simultaneously discipline your right and left-brain hemisphere. Experiential learning is an ancient method followed across the different parts of the world. While some used beads as in ABACUS, we Indians had Vedic Math, based on the 16 sutras. In the modern age, we have streams like Robotics and Practical Sciences that can be considered as a part of experiential learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing”. Since Experiential learning is not confined to theory, the process has proven to have significant teaching advantages. A learner is benefitted through the education only if he can put a share of that knowledge to use in his future life which he gains from his desire to absorb the knowledge. In the subsequent blogs, we will learn more about the Experiential learning and knowledge about the streams that come under Experiential learning and their respective advantages.

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