Secrets of Last Minute Revision before Exams

By Sampada Bidikar,

When exams knock on your door, you have to study more and more. When there’s hardly any time left, and you haven’t done your revision yet. Here’s a solution! Read over to find out the quickest way of revising before your exams.

That time of the year is upon us, the time of revisions, preparations and tensions. Exams are just around the corner and everyone is busy studying for them. Each one of us has our own way of studying. Some will make timetables, some might randomly read a chapter they find most difficult and then the read the easy ones, or vice versa. Few would like to study with a buddy. Whatever the method, we all have one goal, and that is to do well in the exams.

With all this preparation, there is always a last minute thing to be done. It’s always there. Just before entering the exam hall, you would want to take a final look at the formulae, revise an important concept, and discuss some queries with your friends.

And more often than not, this last minute revision helps. With a proper last minute revision you enter the exam hall with confidence.

When you look at the question paper, you are confident about some questions and answer them well, as you had just revised them. But there might also be a few, for which you are unable to recollect the formula or the answer and you curse yourself for not taking a look at it once more. Has this ever happened to you?  I am sure it has happened to most of us, and you are smiling to yourself thinking how true this is.

Most of us prepare for this last minute revision beforehand. We write down important formulae in a sheet of paper or we write down the page number of the concepts we want to take a look at one more time, we make mind maps, charts, tables, etc. All these things definitely help us to do well.

I would like to suggest another sure shot method to help you with your studies and make your life easier: The Smart Learning Cards from Learnhive. The perfect tool to help you revise better! These sets of card for each subject will cover all the chapters and concepts of your syllabus.  These concise, colourful handy cards have concepts arranged in different formats like mind maps, tables, flowcharts, graphs to help you understand and remember well. Each card is designed carefully by Subject matter experts, keeping in mind the best way to explain a concept, so that it helps the child understand better. You have everything you need in these cards, the definitions, formulae, diagrams, solved problems, procedures, steps and explanation of concepts.

                                    Math Concept Sample Smart Card

                                  English Grammar Sample Smart Card

 

                  Science Concept Sample Smart Card

These are powerful visualization tools that will definitely help you with your studies. So go ahead try them. They are freely available right now @ http://player.learnhive.net/#!/search/lessons/summary

Also pocket your own copy of these cards at http://www.learnhive.net/store/SmartLearningCards to help you with your last minute preparation, and to give you the confidence to crack the exams.

About the Author:

Sampada Bidikar (sampada.bidikar@learnhive.net) is the Team Lead – Content Development at Learnhive Education Pvt. Ltd. She has over 5 years of experience in Information technology and over a year experience in Training and development; has worked in the Health care and Power domain at Siemens Information systems Ltd. She has a Bachelors degree in Information Science. Having a passion for training and development, she did her Advanced Diploma in Training and Development and has worked as a trainer and content developer at Oscar Murphy International.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K-12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at any time. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

How to prepare well for your exams?

By Captain Unni Krishnan,

When exams are around the corner, most students slip into studies and start cramming before the day of the exam. Some find it uneasy to follow a time table, some cannot concentrate, some have difficulties in remembering and others feel less confident. To help you cope with all your anxieties. Here are few useful tips that will help you to prepare well for your exams and be confident.

  • Make a revision timetable - Prepare a revision timetable. Try not to be too accurate and plan every minute of the day. This can be stifling and become boring quickly. Instead, make a list of subjects to be revised for that day, and how much time they need.

    Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1109777

  • Do lots of past exam papers - You need to be familiar with what the structure of exam will be, and what sort of questions will be asked. Time your solving of papers.
  • Take breaks – But not too many. One fifteen minute break for every hour of revision is fine, though if you’re younger and using this guide for other exams you’ll probably want shorter breaks more often – ten minute breaks for every half hour.
  • Drink enough water – But put it away from your notes in case you spill it! Refill it at breaks, and don’t drink too much or you’ll need the loo too often.
  • Eat well (Healthy food) – There are foods that boost brainpower – like peanuts, strawberries, banana, milk, dry fruits and fish. Avoid fast food – like pizzas and burgers and pastries that contain trans fats – a big ‘no’ to the brain and memory function.
  • Make time for exercise – It could be swimming or playing basketball or even yoga – coupled with mediation- has been proved to improve concentration.
  • Prioritize your subjects and their various topics to know which ones need the most work.
  • Get proper sleep, because then everything you revised will stay in your mind. Try not to stay up too long.
  • Have a daily routine -   For the basics of every day (this is easier if you have school, but during your leave follow this example-  ’Get up at 7:30, breakfast 7:45, lunch at 1:00, dinner at 6:00, bed at 9:00.’ It will get your body into a good routine for revising and stop you getting tired.
  • Study in a well organized, brightly lit room. Try changing your place of study – like the terrace, balcony, and the like instead of getting locked up only in your room.
  • Own schedule and not group schedule - It’s OK to do collective/group work to help each other, but do not do what they do, if you have English as a priority, and they have Math, do your English.
  • Get help from elders or your seniors who have done the same board exams before.
  • Be positive and confident about your exams.
  • Always be cheerful and learn to enjoy your study time. You don’t have a choice – you have to write your exams – might as well learn to enjoy study time.
  • Don’t be over confident, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Create your own flash cards/ reference notes and refer them everyday. Five minutes with flashcards every day over a long period will be better than six hours cramming of science without breaks or rewards. You could also sum up what you have studied on post it stickers and glue them on your notice boards. When you revise again you just go through only that.
  • Set achievable and small targets- helps motivate you. Never target huge portions – when you don’t finish it, it will make you feel miserable.
  • Record things on to a phone or MP3 and listen to it overnight. That way, you will remember better. Record things you aren’t sure about.
  • Remember to be modest - if you brag about doing a lot of work and end up failing, it will be quite embarrassing.
  • Study everyday!

After Exam tips – Very crucial

  • Don’t create a panic. The work is done now wait for the result.
  • Don’t compare answers with those of other students – this can create negative feelings
  • Don’t rush to your textbooks to check your answers – there is no point at this stage
  • Focus on the next exam and how you might improve your exam technique
  • Have a quick look at your revision plan. See if you need to adjust it?
  • Think positive!

About the Author:

Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our vision to become the #1 trusted learning source for you. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is available in computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Click here to signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises) for your children. As a parent you will receive regular progress reports, useful information related learning and educational boards.

Are you giving enough blended learning for your child?

By Jenna Murdoch,

Most of the parents feel that in spite of sending their child to tuition and school, the classroom learning has not made much of an impact on the child. The reason could be that the child has not understood the concepts or that they maybe exceptionally talented that they are bored of learning the concepts. This is due to being exposed to only classroom learning and not practical knowledge. Find out what blending learning is all about and how it will have a positive impact on your child’s learning.

Within the modern school system, students are arranged primarily by age rather than by ability. This originated with the industrial model of schools, where students were all trained in the same way to prepare them to take the place of another on the assembly line and are moved through the school years in lock step. Of course, we are no longer in the industrial age – we live in a knowledge economy where not everyone is expected to be on the same path, yet still, students are put in classrooms without full regard to where they stand on the learning spectrum.

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1109761

Pitfalls in levelled classrooms

In order to adapt to the new economy, many schools have attempted to address students of differing abilities by creating leveled classes and introducing opportunities for more advanced students such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. Further, teachers have attempted to design more “modern” curricula that deviate from the traditional industrial model by using new in-class methods that encourage collaboration and project-based learning. However, even within these leveled classrooms, there is considerable variance in students’ level of comfort with coursework – instructors still have to appeal to the most common denominator in order to address the largest audience possible. As a result, students who have trouble keeping up may give up on understanding the material while students who are exceptionally talented in a certain subject may become bored or even discouraged.

Online education aids practice and preparation

In many subjects, online education may be a way for students who don’t fit into the common denominator to complement in-class instruction. Online education is a particularly effective complement to work in mathematics, since mathematical reasoning involves practice and objective problem solving. Students who are having a hard time keeping up with their classmates can do online practice problems until they have a better handle on the material or watch tutorials that take them step-by-step through the process of solving certain types of problems. Learners who are ahead of most of their peers can use online education as a way to solve more challenging problems that can give them a leg up in preparing for future coursework and can even help get them prepared for the level of mathematical reasoning that is expected of students applying to top universities.

Optimizing online learning platform

Though online instruction can be an excellent complement for classroom materials, many parents and students have a hard time deciding what features to look for when attempting to choose an online learning platform. Many online education providers have extremely limited materials or demonstrate the same generalized approach that drives students to online resources in the first place. In order to maximize the benefits of complementary online education, parents and students should look for platforms that have broad content and have adaptive resources that track a learner’s progress and generate additional materials based on the user’s demonstrated performance.

Blending in-class and online instruction

Blending in-class instruction with adaptive online complementary resources can allow students to move at their own pace and can empower them in the classroom.

About the Author:

Jenna Murdoch is a student at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. She is an instructional technologist who is interested in evolving learning models.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K-12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

How to choose the right school for your child?

By Captain Unni Krishnan,

Today choosing a school is like choosing a car or a house, very subjective. There is no right or wrong choice. Before you decide how to choose a pre school it is important to understand this segment of education.

Pre-school system

Formal education starts at the age of 6. The segment of the school system that

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1066433

addresses students less than 6 years of age is called the pre-school.  The formal process of physically going to school starts at an age around 2 years 9 months upwards.

Kindergarten years are an important time in a child’s total development. Early childhood educators, families and members of the community should work together to provide challenging and engaging learning experiences that will build a child’s confidence, encourage them to continue to see learning as both enjoyable and useful, and provide a strong foundation for their future intellectual, physical, and social development.

Teachers in Kindergarten program must plan whole-class instruction, small-group learning, independent learning, and activities in their environment.

There should also be a balance between teacher-initiated and child-initiated activities – times when the teacher guides the children’s learning and times when children are given opportunities to choose activities to demonstrate their knowledge.

In addition to focusing on developing IQ and EQ, learning activities must develop Social quotient in children. The Pre School education has 2 well-known systems of delivery the Kindergarten and the Montessori.  Kindergarten is a drop down from the conventional system, has a larger leaning towards reading and writing and hence is followed in most regular schools. Montessori is learning by doing method and followed in specialist pre schools.

As there is a re orientation in the education system, some regular schools run both KG and Montessori streams. 

Important guidelines

  • In the KG program while the child must learn to read and write but if the focus is only that, we will miss out a great opportunity to develop young minds.
  • Choose the school, which will suit the development of the child emotionally.
  • Do not worry about how many poems the child has learnt in KG but see how many friends the child has.
  • Gross motor skills; fine motor skills, language skills and number recognitions; all schools do this and all children will learn.
  • Look for a school where your child will enjoy and will like to go.
  • See if the child is learning to share what it has? Is the child learning to appreciate its friend’s achievements?

Let Air condition bus, hot food etc. not be the criteria to select a school.

  • Open play spaces, clean toilets, pleasant staff, are important.
  • It is not the qualification and the accent of the teacher that matters but the concern and care that the teacher has that will make the difference.
  • More than the latest topics, values and morals are important.
  • Above all, it is not enough to choose to a good school but is necessary to partner the school.
  • This does not mean you have to spend time in school monitoring the teachers, have trust in the teacher’s ability as a professional.
  • The child must not get the impression that the school and parents are on opposite sides. They will play one against the other.
  • You can get the best for your child if both are on the same side. Otherwise it will be a blame game.

Quality time spent by parents with a young child must not be limited to intellectual development but at very young ages,

  • A larger amount of time must be spent on social, moral and emotional development-
  • Parents must discuss socially relevant matters, appreciation of peers, other children, sharing etc. these will show affect on the young ones.
  • Today around the world and especially in our country, social awareness is very limited.
  • With nuclear families, children are growing up without concern for others.
  • Language used at home with house help, support staff etc. makes a large impact on children.
  • To expect children not to be exposed to foul language is impractical because it is all around but make them realize that it is unacceptable and must be avoided is essential.

Choosing a school is a very subjective decision and each individual can have different priorities. The best way is to create a list of expectations and prioritize each of them and then give scores each school you visit. Total up all of them before you make your choice.

Questions to ask while selecting a school

  1. Does it follow KG / Montessori or mix?
  2. Is it a part of a chain of schools or a stand alone?
  3. How far is the school from my house (Travel and time involved)?
  4. Do I need school and day Care at one place or can they at different places?
  5. Would I want my child to continue in same school from KG to Grade-12 or do I want a specialist KG school?
  6. How much of emphasis on personal care?
  7. What is the peer group like at school?
  8. How approachable is the management?
  9. How affordable is it?

Rate these on a scale of 1 to 5 or 10 and then make your decision. Anyways this is not a irreversible reaction you can always change the school if things are going out of hand but remember a school is a community and you will never achieve 100% satisfaction anything between 60 to 70 % is great.

Questions or Comments? Write to us!

Do you have any questions or comments related to choosing a school? What has worked for you? Please submit your comments below.

About the Author:

Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

 

Secrets to nurturing a lifelong love for reading

By Deepa Vaidya,

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss.

Over the years, there have been numerous studies that have highlighted the importance of reading to children. We all know and agree that children who read are more likely to do well in academics.

Photo Credit: Preethi Vijayaraj

They have better communication skills, a larger vocabulary, sharper logical thinking skills and better communication skills. In this fast paced world though, children are constantly performing a balancing act between completing their homework on time, participating in co-curricular activities like sports and studying for ongoing evaluations. How do we then as parents, kindle a love for reading? Both me and my children are avid readers. Here are a few tricks that I have tried successfully:

  1. Read to your children early and as often as you can: It is never too early to introduce a child to the world of books. Even babies and toddlers enjoy watching you read picture books and pop-up books. My youngest one who is under a year old loves staring at bright coloured picture books and sometimes chomp down on those. It is never too early to start!
  2. Start off with simple books: For early readers, you can introduce books by Eric Carle, Margaret Wise Brown and Dr Seuss. These books have simple rhyming words that children love. Initially you will have to read to them. As your children get older, you can alternately read a page and ask them to read the next. Before you know it, your children will be reading the book cover-to-cover.
  3. Let children choose: As you read more and more books, your children may show preferences for certain books or a certain genre. Introduce them to a large selection, but let them lead the way. Maybe they have a favourite character that they like to read about or maybe they like a particular author’s style of writing. There is no right or wrong book to read.
  4. Incorporate reading into your daily schedule: Leave aside a certain time of the day where you want your kids to read. In my house, reading is part of our bedtime routine. After the kids are ready for bed, they like to cuddle with a book and fall asleep. This is also an excellent activity to calm them down before bedtime.
  5. Minimize time spent in front of television: There is a reason why the television is called an ‘Idiot box’. Watching television is a passive activity. Because books convey information through the written word without the benefit of tone, inflection and director’s opinions, they depend heavily on the reader’s imagination. Television on the other hand provides you with the story, already carved out as per the director’s imagination and edited for brevity. The first time my children saw the Harry Potter series on celluloid, they were surprised by how much of the story had been edited to fit into the stipulated movie time. Much of JK Rowling’s rich prose and subtle details had been lost in transforming the books into movies.
  6. Be patient: If initially your children do not take to reading right away, do not lose heart. Keep trying out different genres or different authors. Persistence always pays and your children will eventually like a certain author that they want to read over and over.
  7. Join a library: If you have a public library that you can go to, make it a habit to visit it every few days. You can also join your neighbourhood lending library or avail of the library in your child’s school. We have seen some of the methods by which you can nurture the reading habit in your children. Books have the power to benefit your children in a myriad of ways. Therefore, as a parent, fostering a love of reading in your child can provide a foundation for academic excellence.
What are your suggestions to cultivate the love for reading?

References:

  1. http://www.earlymoments.org/why-reading-to-children-is-important/
  2. http://tomrubenoff.hubpages.com/hub/Television-or-Book/

About the Author:

Deepa is a mother of 3 children. She has a Master’s degree in Information Sciences from Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey. She is currently on a sabbatical from her career in software development and taking care of her 8 month old. She has just finished reading the Hunger Games series with her older twins and has embarked on reading Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s epic Discovery of India with them.

 About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

Change the mindset of education discrimination!

By Sampada Bidikar,

We come across a lot of news about the discrimination faced by people in our society, we read about the quota system in education, or the discrimination faced by the children admitted in school via the RTE (Right to Education) act. Each one of us has an opinion (rather a strong one) about this. When we read such stories we feel sorry for the kids, we blame the system or the government, we say it hinders India’s progress and many other things. Quite recently I read an article from The Hindu, about how parents and even the students don’t want kids from poor background (admitted via the RTE act) to study in the same class as theirs. They say it affects their progress; these kids might lower the level of education and many such things. I was astonished when I read that the kids were saying such things.
(The Hindu article: “Having them in our class”)

Children are born free, without boundaries of any kind. It is we the parents who teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. Even before going to school, children learn a lot from their parents. Parents instil most of the values in a kid.

www.sxc.hu/photo/1380778

Last Sunday me and my Hubby were standing in the balcony, watching few boys play cricket in our complex. We stay in defence quarters, therefore each officer’s quarters has a servant’s quarter, where servants stay along with their families. So these officers’ kids were playing along with a few servants’ kids. The game was going along well. We were also enjoying the game. Then there comes an officer (father of one of the boys) and he is angry that the high society officer’s kids are playing with servant’s kids. He literally asked the security guard to shoo away the servant kids. And then he scolded the remaining kids and instructed them not to play with those kids again. From that day I have not seen the kids play together again.

The incident left us saddened. How humiliating the servant’s kids must have felt? And as my husband said “I feel sorry for the officer’s kid. He will grow up to be a snob.” And that’s absolutely true. This will leave a negative mark on the kids coming from both the backgrounds.

This is a classic example which shows that the problem is in our homes. It’s the mindset of the people. And inevitably our kids inherit our mindset. The problem has got nothing to do with the government or society. It’s we who put the divides in our minds and in the minds of our kids. And nothing possibly will change until we break these walls in our minds first. Success of RTE or removal of the quota system in Indian education will remain a farfetched dream, if this mentality is not changed.

About the Author:

Sampada Bidikar (sampada.bidikar@learnhive.net) is the Team Lead – Content Development at Learnhive Education Pvt. Ltd. She has over 5 years of experience in Information technology and over a year experience in Training and development; has worked in the Health care and Power domain at Siemens Information systems Ltd. She has a Bachelors degree in Information Science. Having a passion for training and development, she did her Advanced Diploma in Training and Development and has worked as a trainer and content developer at Oscar Murphy International.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

How to beat the fear of Algebra?

By Arindam Nag.

Elementary Algebra is generalized form of arithmetic. It provides a language to represent problems and functions. Algebraic thinking is also one of the first forms of abstract thinking that students develop in mathematics. It is most critical to understand what mental model your child has established and then look to mould and correct that model giving different examples. Lets look at some of the common gotchas of algebraic learning.

Fear of the unknown x

In Algebra, we use a mixture of numerical digits (constants) and alphabets (variables). For many children, after having done arithmetic, they get pretty confused with the introduction of alphabets in mathematical expressions. Also, with x being the favorite letter for a variable, it is even more confusing since it is the symbol used for multiplication. In computer programming parlance, x is overloaded.

The easiest way to introduce alphabets in arithmetic is to use them as placeholders while solving word problems. Consider the following problem: 5 bananas cost 20 rupees. What is the cost of each banana? Such type of problem is introduced quite early, as soon as children learn multiplication and division. You can start with using a sketch of a banana to represent cost of one banana. You can show that instead of writing 5 x Cost of one banana = 20,

5 x Cost of banana = 20they can draw a picture of a banana. Then they can replace that picture with an alphabet, say b to represent the banana. So, now they have a language to represent the problem to say

5 x b = 20

This is the beginning of Algebra. Algebraic thinking can be introduced by asking them what happens if the cost of 5 banans increases to 30 rupees and then 40 rupees.

Algebraic expressions to represent functions

In the above example, the letter b really represented one value. The essence of Algebra is that an alphabet is used to represent a variable quantity which can take on different values and thus represent a function. Using Age related problems is a great way to explain this concept. Start by asking your child to express the following statement as an algebraic expression : Father is 30 years older than the son. How would you write this?

Age of son : x

Age of father : x + 30

 

Father and son

Then proceed by asking what happens to the father’s age as the son’s age increases. This will build a mental model of a function. Then one can easily introduce the concept of an equation. When the father is 50 years old what is the age of son?

x + 30 = 50

Solve for x.

 

 

Misconception about subtracting variables

Another common mistake that almost all children make is dealing with expressions like this.

What is 5x – x ?

Most children will answer that as 5, especially when the problem is asked verbally. This is because of two reasons. First reason is that they forget x is really a shorthand for 1x. The other reason is that children have a mental model of the above expression as:

5(x – x)

rather than

(5 – 1)x

This can also be explained with an interesting age problem. The father’s age is 5 times the son’s age. The difference in their current ages is 20. What are their ages?

5x – x = 20

Solve for x.

 

Conclusion

Remember that Algebra is beginning of abstract thinking in mathematics. Hence it is very important that we understand what is the model they have in their mind and then help shape that model. Most important is to remove the fear of use of alphabets in mathematical expressions. Make it fun by using puzzles and then inculcate the understanding of function representation. Then, definitions around like terms, coefficients and others will naturally follow.

Algebraic terminology

References:

1. Making Meaning in Algebra Examining Students’ Understandings and Misconceptions — David Foster http://library.msri.org/books/Book53/files/12foster.pdf

2. On the learning of Algebra — H. Wu. http://math.berkeley.edu/~wu/algebra1.pdf

About the Author:

Arindam Nag is a  Founder and Director at Learnhive; he has over 15 years experience in information technology. He worked for over 13 years at one of the world’s leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs in various engineering and technology leadership roles. He has a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a recipient of National Talent Search Scholarship. He is a staunch believer in using technology to bridge the gap in the educational divide that exists not just in India but the world over.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

Why should you be using the Internet for your child’s education?

By Karthik Ramaswamy.

Every student has a time in life where he feels academically challenged – I myself was faced with that dilemma during the time I was applying to different Universities to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. There is a certain overflow as well as a lack of information one finds in today’s education system: It has become more of a business, and people fail to understand WHY learning and schools were invented in the first place. The essence of learning something lies in curiosity – if you are genuinely curious about a topic, there’s no way you can’t learn more about it. That curiosity is sometimes self-generated, but most of the time, needs to be inculcated – which is why learning about something is very different in comparison to doing well in an exam and scoring marks.

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/2281

At the end of the day, both go hand in hand. Genuine interest fosters a hunger for knowledge, and later a desire to apply that knowledge – which is where exams come in – in places where you can test your understanding skills. And one has to agree; there is no better place to do that than the Internet.

I’m pretty sure many kids today are well acquainted with the net. I was nothing short of shocked when my 10 year old cousin came up to me and asked me about things i hadn’t even heard of before – which explains how much these kids really get out of digging around the internet. When I was in sixth grade, there was no option really, other than paying attention in class (or expensive personal tutors who, well, lets face it, really didn’t make kids learn the right way) and then preparing all by yourself for examinations. The only material you had was government-supplied textbooks that focused more on an examination point of view rather than actual learning. The skills needed for grasping more complicated concepts in science was only inculcated through active participation in competitive exams such as Olympiads.

Today, if i want to read about airplanes, I can go to Wikipedia and learn all about them the very same day. So much so, that within a month, I can take online lessons and match my knowledge to a graduate in aerospace. This vast, vast treasure trove of information comes with universities realizing that knowledge must be shared extensively – with more involvement from the student community, the internet continues to be an invaluable resource to students all over the world. But things are slightly different at the school level. Of course, one cannot simply start reading graduate level subjects out of interest. Moreover, it is very important that the ‘Base’ – fundamentals or ‘fundas’ as they are better known – must be absolutely concrete. And this can happen only at the school level. If they aren’t strong, the student will have to first build them later on – which is frankly a waste of time, and no student likes to go back to what he studied at the school level once he graduates from school.

Any kid can read a textbook, learn a few lines, write it in exams and get a good grade. But does that really help them? Not really. Because when they have to apply that knowledge, they fall behind people who use these other resources – and actually learn the subject. These ‘resources’ come in many shapes and sizes, but what is important is that they must be focused on making the student learn. Make him think, develop his curiosity and then challenge him with applications of what he learned – that way, he’ll not see it as an obligation, but as a fun activity that engages him in learning new things. Textbook knowledge is not at all enough, and most students find it boring to read the same thing again and again.

Don’t limit them as far as their education is concerned – it’s important that they pick up as much as they want (and need) to along the way. And with a toll as powerful as the Internet, the whole world is, quite literally, at their fingertips.

About the Author:

Karthik Ramaswamy is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from VIT university, Vellore. He is a captain at Assailing Falcons, VITU’s debut aero design team. He is a writer at the Brain Bought blog.

 About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

Having fun with simple interest

By Arindam Nag, Founder, Learnhive

One of the best ways to make learning fun is for parents to engage children in activities
from our day-to-day lives, tying the activities to concepts that they learn in school.

save money

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/815274

Take for example the concept of simple interest that is usually introduced around the 5th  grade in Indian schools. I have twins, a boy and a girl, who are currently in 6th grade. My son was probably a financier or accountant in his previous life. He has kept a keen interest in money matters from a young age. He seems to remember all of his (pocket) money earnings and promises of monetary benefits made by us. However, my daughter on the other hand is more than happy to let her brother handle her accounting and easily parts with her share. So naturally when they were being taught simple interest, one showed more interest than the other.

My wife and I decided to use this opportunity to give them some real world experience of managing money and explain how banks function. We opened up accounts for both of them and asked them to put a portion of their pocket monies in their respective accounts. We explained that the money in the bank would earn them interest as they had learnt in school. Once they had sufficient money, they could even opt for a fixed deposit that would earn them higher interest. This was followed by some quick calculations to show how many additional scoobi strings / novels and other goodies they could buy by keeping the money in the bank rather than at home. This led to further conversation on how banks could afford to give interest. Both of them then got into finding their perfect signature. This entire episode seems to not only have piqued more interest in my son to read financial news articles (he now regularly looks at the currency rates in the morning newspaper), but seems to have also kindled more awareness on money matters for my daughter. They will be learning compound interest in school later this year, which they are looking forward to.

Masterchef Australia is also one of their favorite TV programs. The twins have started using terms like “adding acidity to the sauce” when they help their mom in the kitchen. Examples for chapter on Acids and Bases…here we come…

What were your experiences in explaining concepts to your children? What examples did you use?

About the Author:

Arindam Nag is a  Founder and Director at Learnhive; he has over 15 years experience in information technology. He worked for over 13 years at one of the world’s leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs in various engineering and technology leadership roles. He has a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a recipient of National Talent Search Scholarship. He is a staunch believer in using technology to bridge the gap in the educational divide that exists not just in India but the world over.

 About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

Should we abolish final examinations?

By Captain Unni Krishnan, Founder and Director, LearnHive

What does examination do? It rates the examinees based on their proficiency and the result helps allow them make choices regarding the next steps.

preparing for exams

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1275249

Let us take a look at some things in life: friends, job, marriage partner, promotion. Don’t all these things depend on our choice? When there is a choice, you select and when you select one out of many it means competition?

If as an individual we can create competition, it is bound that in this world competition will be manifold and the only way to survive is to prepare for competition .

By abolishing exams, we are treating the symptom rather than find and treat the cause. Let us understand that with an increasing population, competition is not just bound to exist but will only increase.

Well then what can we do? The best way to handle competition is to prepare for it. This means we cannot wish away examinations.

Let us re-look at the world around us. Education in addition to creating awareness must also prepare students for their profession. The biggest opportunity is that just as the number of students has increased the avenues of careers/ profession has also increased.

Unfortunately the education system in India has not changed accordingly especially at the school level. We can think and will realize that school education need not be so broad based. The subject skills required by an engineer are not the same as what is required by a journalist, media analyst, economist, fashion designer, dancer or a movie editor. Also as per the theory of multiple intelligences, children are adept at different skillsets and hence perform better in certain subjects.

Aim of restructuring education should be to prepare students for the current scenario. One of the possible ways of doing this is to rework the number of subjects that a student is being examined in. If a student is going to be examined in the subject he/ she likes and wants to specialize in, it is quite possible that the student will not be stressed. We all know that we have to prepare more in subjects that we are weak in. While a student studies a broad base of subjects, when it comes to the important Board/ Qualifying examinations, the choice of subjects that they wish to pursue may only be examined. This will see a larger motivation among students in their preparation for exams and also bring down stress levels.

About the Author:

Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.

 About Learnhive:

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).