# Teaching Math with Wiz-Blox

**Wiz-Blox is Math in Physical Form**

The 7 Wiz-Blox blocks are related to each by mathematical principles. Each block is made of one or more right triangular prisms. They can be used to demonstrate important math concepts.

Math helps us to find patterns that may not be obvious, and we can use these discovered knowledge that works with other objects and their relationships. Those discoveries expand our understanding.

Wiz-Blox is a powerful math manipulative because experiences with it can make math physical, real and understandable.

Math is how we use logic to learn about **objects and their relationships**; any kind of objects and all kinds of relationships. Wiz-Blox are **objects in relationships**.

**Experience is the Best Teacher. **It’s is not a new idea.

2,500 years ago

*“I hear and I forget. *

*I see and I remember.*

**I do and I understand**.” Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.)

Julius Caesar (c 52 BC) explained**, **“*Experience is the teacher of all things*.”

John Dewey** **(1859-1952)** **the author of * Experience & Education* clarified, “

*All genuine education comes about through experience."*

**Wiz-Blox Math for Babies, Infants and Toddlers as well as Architects, Engineers and Mathematicians**

It’s especially important for young children to grasp the foundation of math. Identifying and discussing object’s size, shape, amount, location, color, movement, pattern and other organizing attributes lays the foundation for mathematical thinking.

Children should be involved in these types of discussions, early and often to increase their math and verbal abilities, and their self-confidence as they successfully meet a series of discoveries and challenges.

Parents and teachers should use a variety of __enjoyable__ activities that include number recognition, counting, comparing size and other relationships, which arise naturally while playing with games, blocks and puzzles.

**Simultaneous, Multi-sensory Education**

Some people think that we have to teach math in a slow, repetitive methodical way. This is __totally incorrect__.

Actually, our brains are terrific at multitasking and flexibly interpreting patterns of understanding.

Our amazing brains automatically and simultaneously process sensory inputs from all five senses and __use math intuitively, as a sixth sense__.

This math 6^{th} sense makes effective decisions by simultaneously understanding inputs in multiple parts of the brain where they are assessed in combination with the assessments of other parts of the brain, at *lightning speed*.

Our brain’s intuitive math sense can easily calculate the position, spin and speed of the ball in the air, as well as the gravitational pull, and friction due to wind, as it travels through the air. Simultaneously, our brain signals our muscle to move so that our body and hands are in the right position to catch it.

This is pure rocket-science, and our brains do it automatically – in a *flash**.*

We can use our multi-sensory brains to understand math with physical-sense-inducing **objects, and their relationships**, because our brains already know how to conceive and solve actual math problems in physical-sensory terms.

Math anxiety can start early. Some children as young as age 5 show the signs of math anxiety. It can escalate to math difficulties and avoidance that gets worse as children get older and become adults with limited opportunities.

Math acquisition, like language acquisition, should come naturally from observing surroundings early in life.

To remove the threat of math anxiety, parents and teachers should incorporate non-judgmental math related activities on a frequent and regular basis.

__With toddlers__ you can play *“The What If Game”*, *“The Same and Different Game”* and *many* other games. It’s __not__ about right or wrong. It’s about understanding and enjoying, so have Fun.

*What if.* What if it was blue? Would it be the same size? Why is that?

*Same/different.* Find different shaped leaves with different colors of green.

*Ask:* How are they the same? How are they different? Are there others?

If you place the pointed piece on top of the cube, ask: *‘What does that look like?’* *Can you tell me a story about it?*

*Your Game.* Improvise, experiment and ask questions to inspire thinking.

When children and adults have previous knowledge and real-life __experience of their own__ they understand, remember and can express the concepts.

It’s the thinking, not answers, that is important.

There are __no wrong answers__, just answers that lead to further thinking.

*Ask:* What are the reasons? and What if . . . ?

**Math anxiety** is a *psychological* problem. It’s *"a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance"*^{[1]}

Many students have __math anxiety__ and give up because they have unpleasant feelings of failure and often believe and say *“I’m not good at math”*.

At least ** 2 billion people** worldwide believe they are

*“not good at math”*.Fortunately, these can be moderated and alleviated by properly using tools that use multisensory experiences to increase understanding, motivation and abilities to learn math.

Teachers and parents should look for students, who *often* avoid doing math; or who *often* exhibit emotional distress when faced with the prospect of doing math.

Math education should create the ability to access, use, interpret and communicate mathematical information.

Helping students think creatively and logically to understand and interpret information and solve problems, should be a primary goal of math education.

All students are required to take math.

Globally, over **1 billion** students are *trying *to learn math.

The United States, with about 5% of the world’s population has about **59 million** students are studying math:

51 million students attend public elementary and secondary schools, 6 million attend private elementary and secondary schools, and another 2 million are homeschooled.

**But**, ** most students are Not proficient in math** at their grade level.

Every year **Hundreds-of-millions** of students leave school unable to do even **basic math.** (A minimum level of math needed to function in society.) When they leave school they are functionally **innumerate**.

**Innumeracy** is the __inability__** **to understand and use numbers in calculations. It is a major problem in all countries and economies.

Math skills are actually a matter of** life and death. **

At the individual level __innumeracy__ and __math anxiety__ severely reduces educational and employment opportunities, lifetime income and significantly reduces life expectancy.

At the national level, inequality in the __distribution of mathematics skills is closely related to how wealth is shared__ within nations, and amongst nations.

PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know, p.5, 6. oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012

The data shoes that the **current math teaching methods **(traditional ‘*chalk, talk and test’* and *online lessons* augmented with *teacher guidance*) are **inadequate for most students**.

[1] Ashcraft, M.H. (2002), "Math anxiety: Personal, educational, and cognitive consequences", Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11: 181–185, doi:10.1111/1467-8721.00196