Seventh grade is a challenging year for many reasons. Socially, students are in the heart of middle school and all of the drama that it brings. In many subjects, the work is getting harder as well. In math, specifically, concepts begin to jump from the concrete to the abstract. 7th grade algebra is a challenging change for many students. Yet, as a parent, the problems may not seem so hard. Here are four reasons that your child may find seventh grade math to be a big challenge.
1. A New Type of Thinking
Algebraic thinking is not the same as the type of thinking required to compute with numbers. Algebra is more abstract than elementary math concepts. It requires analytic, qualitative reasoning about numbers. Children who are used to solving math problems arithmetically may find it difficult to figure out an algebra problem. The more abstract thinking feels as though it is beyond them.
Seventh grade is not the first time a child will have seen basic algebra problems. However, the problems get substantially harder in seventh grade compared to the grades prior. Some students find the skills they used for elementary algebra no longer work.
2. A Lack of Basic Number Sense
Algebra is impossible if the child does not have a clear basic number sense. If your child has struggled with elementary math, then algebra is going to be daunting. This may be the time to supplement with some training at home to solidify those basic number sense and number facts skills.
3. A Big Jump
While algebra is a natural progression from elementary math concepts, for some students it feels like a huge leap. This is due to the new type of thinking it introduces. Students sometimes struggle to make the switch, and as a result, decide that 7th grade algebra is “too hard.”
4. A Wrong Focus
If your child has already decided that 7th grade algebra is “hard” or views the topic as an insurmountable task, then you are going to be fighting an uphill battle. The key to overcoming this negative focus is giving your child the chance to succeed, repeatedly, with proper motivation and rewards.
This is where Thinkster can help. Using a highly motivating and powerful tablet-based math learning program that uses positive reinforcement, students are encouraged to continue learning. The program offers a personalized learning path that the student can follow until concepts are mastered. If basic math facts and concepts are missing, it can also reinforce and re-teach those. The end result is a student who is confident and excited about math, even the challenging 7th grade algebra.