After 30 years of searching for a way to teach math in which students would develop a genuine and solid understanding of the concepts behind the procedures, and receive a mechanism for remembering things like facts and algorithms, I have found the Making Math Real Institute in Berkeley, California. I have been privileged to receive training from David Berg, creator of the Making Math Real method and founder and director of the Institute. 30 years of searching, and trying just about every method to teach math that has been put out there, has given me the context to recognize the real deal when I see it! I am over-the-top excited about being able to share what I am learning to empower students to experience success in an area they may have given up on.
What sets this method apart is not just that it is a fun, hands-on method of learning math, but that it helps students create their own mental pictures, so they can reduce their reliance on memory. Students are successful because they see and understand what they are doing, rather than memorize a rote procedure.
The Making Math Real method does more than just build concepts with manipulatives, though. It guides students from the concrete, through the semi-concrete and semi-abstract levels, and finally connects the concrete manipulatives to the abstract level. Students develop higher order thinking skills through full synthesis of left and right hemisphere processing. Informal, story-based math language is linked with formal math language leading to increased comprehension and retention of math vocabulary. Concepts are integrated with procedures through multisensory, hands-on manipulatives-based activities to develop students’ ability to retain what they have learned.
This authentic experience of success breaks through students’ premature conclusion that they are just not able to “do math” and results in improved confidence, motivation and achievement. Nothing breeds success, like success!