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Introduction to 6th Grade Math

by Dr. Nesa Sasser, studioD

Entering sixth grade will be one of the most memorable experiences of a student's life, as many are entering middle school at the sixth grade. Making math fun will help transition students to thinking abstractly. Parents should consult their state's established math standards. Parents help students by setting routines for studying and planning visits with the math teacher. Parents can make homework fun by turning real-life situations into word problems for students to solve.

Basis for Algebra

Students should explore real-life situations and create word problems from them. These problems go beyond simple addition and subtraction calculations. Students should calculate math problems that relate to their real life. In a study done by the National PTA, the "Parents' Guide to Student Success," the author suggests having students find the missing variable or find missing information, such as how much time it will take to return home from a family vacation, the average speed of a series of trips or the perimeter of a bathroom in the house. When students can relate to the mathematics, they are more likely to understand and comprehend it better.

Departmentalized Teachers

Teachers at the sixth-grade level are specialized into specific subject areas. Students have separate teachers for reading, social studies and science. Math teachers are able to teach more in-depth about specific sixth-grade math concepts. According to a study in the Miami Herald, "Elementary School Students are Switching Classes," author Hannah Sampson says that principals prefer departmentalization because it allows their strongest teachers in math to be dedicated to that subject area and teachers will be able to specialize within that subject area.

Sophistocated Thinking Skills

Students will learn major concepts of numbers including number sense, algebra, geometry, reasoning and probability. Most of the problems will be in the form of word problems. At this grade, it is not so important to get the right answer 100 percent correct as it is to know patterns and concepts associated with the problem. Students will be able to use calculators to actually calculate numbers. What numbers to calculate is a hurdle to overcome, as is deciphering appropriate formulas to use for each word problem. Students are also introduced to geometry and will explore numerous formulas of geometric shapes, such as area, circumference and perimeter. Students will be asked to solve problems based on deductive reasoning by using variables. Students will also be asked to find missing measurements.

Parental Help

The best way parents can help the sixth-grade math student is to establish routines, such as having a set place and time for study, according to School Family ("6th Grade Academics: What to Expect"). Parents may help by talking out the problems instead of solving the problem themselves. Parents must resist the temptation to take over when their child needs help.

About the Author

Dr. Nesa Sasser has served as teacher, school counselor, principal, and college professor. She earned a BBA in accounting from Texas A&M University; an MS in counseling; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership both from Texas A&M Univeristy-Commerce. Her dissertation related to Teacher Quality and Alternative Certification in Texas.

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