## Summer Time: To School or Not to School?

Trying to decide whether your child should or should not join an Enrichment Summer School Program?

Read MoreWhen students are taught math this way, they find it more compelling, and naturally develop a deeper understanding of the subject.

Here's an example of how our mathematics programs apply this approach to a 4th grade math problem:

**Jane and Andrew had $50 together. After Jane bought a present for $12, she and Andrew had the same amount of money. How much money did Jane and Andrew each have initially?**

This seems like a fairly simple problem. And tempting to solve the straightforward way: algebraically. But instead, we encourage our students to solve the problem visually. This way, they develop clarity around why the algebra works.

Here are a few segments from our teacher-training seminar as an example:

We know that initially, Jane must have had more money than Andrew

And after Jane spent $12, they had the same amount. Which, combined, was $50-$12=$38

Meaning that if both Jane and Andrew had equal amounts, then each had $19. And initially, before spending the $12, Jane had $31.

Algebra is a powerful and useful tool for elementary math problems like these. But by taking a visual approach and encouraging classroom debate, we encourage students to grapple with the problem and envision what the algebraic translation really means. This understanding is essential; as problems become more complex, rewriting them in algebraic terms becomes increasingly difficult. Building a solid foundation in elementary school is the key to developing excellence in mathematics and critical thinking.

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