How We Learn Basic Math
The most widely accepted theory about how we first develop math skills is that we are born with an ability to recognize different quantities—a "sense of numbers"—and that ability improves as we age. Now, a new study challenges that theory.
By developing a better understanding of how we understand numbers and learn math, researchers hope to establish new, more effective ways to teach math skills. One idea that challenges the "sense of numbers" theory is the "sense of magnitude" theory, which is the ability to understand density and size—area and perimeter.
According to researchers, language development and cognitive thinking also play an important role in math concepts. More research is needed, but the hope is that we’ll soon be able to diagnose dyscalculia—severe difficulty in math—in young children, even before they begin school, ultimately preventing them from falling behind.
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