# THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING

# FIND A PURPOSE.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Tony Robbins

A sense of purpose is important because it acts like a north star in directing your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Having a sense of purpose in what you do provides a sense of lasting fulfillment and is the most significant enabler of you being at your best. A sense of purpose provides immense motivation and guides you in achieving your authentic potential.

A student would much rather help than be helped. They need to know what they are doing matters.

Students can identify and prioritize their goals, and break down long-term goals into smaller steps. Encourage students to explore what drives them and show them a reason to take on challenges in learning. Teachers can also inspire their students by being inspirational themselves and model their own sense of purpose.

Purpose is not found by doing worksheets. It's found by doing. In school students should have time to discover, explore and create. They must also be given a chance to learn and master new skills.

Practically, how can this be done?

Give them measuring cups to play with water and sand. Give them challenges using fractions and measurements. Teach them to cook using these skills.

# UNDERSTAND THE NUMB3RS.

"The act of learning how to do the math establishes a new kind of brain wiring in your mind, a kind of problem-solving brain wiring."~ Neil Degrasse Tyson

Understanding math is important because it helps you to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. When you understand the concepts behind the equations, you can apply them to real-life situations and solve problems in a more effective way. Simply memorizing equations without understanding the underlying concepts can limit your ability to apply math in practical situations. Understanding math also helps you to see the beauty and elegance of mathematical concepts and appreciate their relevance in the world around us.

There are ways to undertstand numbers and math without equations. Perimeter can describe a fence on a farmer's field. Fractions can show how many are divided into teams at a tournament. Long division can explain how to find how many supplies are needed for an event.

Equations and algorithms are a way to come up with an number. The questions and answers that

Understanding is not taught through equations. Having them memorise the equation for the area of triangle (bh/2) doesn't mean anything. It is taught using real life examples and analogies that help them see math as it related to things in their world.

Practically, how can this be done?

Show that the area of a shape can be the size of a farmer's field, swimming pool cover, piece of clothing, floor of a house or machine surface. Help them understand that a triangle is always half of a rectangle, so to find the area find how many squares it would take to cover the rectangle by multiplying the rows by columns, then find half of this.

# MASTER THE BASICS

"If you are (academically) literate the word looks different to you, and that understanding empowers you."~ Neil Degrasse Tyson

Practicing basic math facts is important because it helps to build a strong foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts. When you have a solid understanding of basic math facts, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, you can perform calculations more quickly and accurately. This can save time and reduce the likelihood of making errors when solving more complex problems. Additionally, having a strong grasp of basic math facts can help to boost your confidence and improve your overall math skills.

Practicing numbers only in equations or word problems is just not enough. Doing only a few free throws during basketball practice will not improve this skill. Doing 100 or 1000 will develop muscle memory, strength and the accuracy to make improvements. The same is true for

Practically, how can this be done?

Basic skills in any subject whether it's math, language or music, should be practiced regularly. Mad minutes, number games or study sheets good, however to make this practice effective specific strategies will get stronger with each repition.

# STRAGETIES FOR MASTERY

". After learning memory techniques, learning will never be the same again."~ Simon Reinhart, 2x World Memory Champion

Practising skills is good, but with the right strategies it can make learning much more effective. Practising “mad minutes” which are timed basic math fact tests, students can improve fluency and accuracy by 10-15% over several weeks. With the same amount of time spent using specific strategies, student can improve fluency by over 500% and have an accuracy score essentially 100%.

What this would look like in real life is a student in grade 4 writing a math sheet with questions like 6x7 or 8x4 could answer roughly 10-15 out of 30 questions correctly in 5 minutes. This student would skip questions, jump to questions with 2's, 5's or 9's because they are easier to answer or count fingers or sets to come up with answers. With just practice, this score might improve to 12-16 correct answers after a few weeks of daily practice. However, with a strategy, with 15-20 minutes of practice 3 times a week for 2-4 weeks, they would be able to answer 100-150 questions in the same amount of time without skipping questions with 100% of the questions correct.

This is the first step, and one of the most important skills in learning math. This not allows them to instantly access the answers to small calculations, and in turn large calculations, but it frees up the mind to focus on what is really being taught. Neurologists tell us that learning a new skill changes the physical structures of the brain. By stimulating neurons in the brain, more neural pathways are formed; the more pathways that are formed, the faster impulses can travel.

If the times tables are not mastered, higher level math can not take place. Even if a child can think through how to solve a problem, they will not be able to come up with the correct answer. First the basics must be learned to a level of mastery (under 3 seconds for students in grades 3-4 or 1 second for those who are older), then concepts must be understood, and finally math is connected to real life.

Practically, how can this be done?

There are many methods for learning the basics. For the times tables we use several methods. The Memory Palace techniques or The Math Stories are simple stories that connect objects that represent numbers, such as a spider for the number 8. Others make use of patterns that numbers naturally follow, Eastern learning tools like the abacus or using easy to remember and connect words that represent numbers. Any of these techniques will lead to a mastery of numbers if they are given enough energy and focus, even for those with learning disabilities.

# LEARN IN LEVELS

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~ Old Chinese Proverb

Learning math in levels allows students to build a strong foundation in basic concepts before moving on to more advanced topics. This approach helps students develop problem-solving skills and promotes healthy brain function. Early math skills can also predict higher aptitude in high school math and higher rates of college enrollment.

Students born in the same year are not at the same level academically. In any given class you will have students that have to sound out letters to read or count fingers to add. You will also have student who can do math well above grade level and read novels. This is not much different than the one room schools of the past. To be effective, a teacher must teach to both abilities and every student in between.

Practically, how can this be done?

Each skill must be broken down into manageable steps to allow each student to work at the right level. Trigonometry is taught one step at a time which is broken down to the simplest terms so each student can master one small skill before moving on. This is done with every concept.

# EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." ~ Confucius

Hands-on learning, also known as experiential learning, is an educational approach that emphasises the importance of direct, practical experience in the learning process. Unlike traditional classroom-based instruction, hands-on learning encourages students to engage with the material through active participation, experimentation, and problem-solving. By interacting with real-world objects and situations, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of complex concepts and apply them in practical situations.

Hands-on learning is particularly effective for teaching skills that require physical coordination or specialized knowledge, such as cooking, woodworking, or scientific experimentation. Overall, hands-on learning offers a dynamic and engaging way for students to learn, and can be an effective tool for promoting deeper understanding and long-term retention of information.

Practically, how can this be done?

The students cook, build model houses complete with plumbing and electrical, garden and work with tools. This is done DAILY and is connected not only to science, but to math and language in as many ways as possible.