Take Math Out Of The Box And Have Your Kids Thinking “More Abstractly”

August 28, 2017

Does your elementary schooler love numbers and critical thinking? Are they excited by problem solving?

At Explore Horizons, our approach is simple – work on the whole child, not just his or her academics. It’s our intention to foster confidence, collaboration and leadership skills in all of our students. These are beneficial, if not necessary, skills to be taught to even the brightest of the bunch. Our tutoring and enrichment program is tailored to fine-tune these skills already, but for children who have a particularly hard time showing their confidence in math or who love to ‘geek out’ over the subject, our Enhanced Math class is the perfect way to bring out confidence and fine-tune these skills.

“The Enhanced Math class is our way of getting the kids to think more abstractly when it comes to math. We encourage them to think out of the box,” said Gwen Cox, the center director at the Explore Horizons Frisco location. “In the classroom, a lot of times, a math question will have one answer, but in the Enhanced Math class, we ask questions that have a multitude of answers. The kids are tasked with finding how many answers there are and what they could be. Then they get the opportunity to explain what they found and how they found it in front of the class.”

This class structure challenges the children to strive beyond the standard classroom curriculum. Once a week, our students meet to collaborate, build long-term relationships and practice the skill of a long-term work ethic. “Through a series of 12-week workbooks, filled with out-of-the-box, creativity-inducing projects, our kids will learn skills such as critical thinking, deductive reasoning, presentation and debate skills, teamwork, planning and real-world problem solving,” explained Abbey Cain, the center director in the Explore Horizons Fort Worth Alliance Town Center location. Our Enhanced Math class is truly a differentiator between our practice and other tutoring centers in the DFW area as it is the only one of its kind that maps to the processing standards of the TEKS, which plays a critical role in enhancing a child’s problem-solving ability on the STAAR test.

Another unique feature of our strategy is our tutors. During the Enhanced Math class, our tutors are tasked with facilitating learning by asking probing questions to help the child arrive at answers on their own. “We create an environment which allows children to think imaginatively, explain their thought process and discount or prove their findings with their peers,” says Cain. “Through this deeper and more dynamic support, students are able to stretch past accurate computations to develop a more foundational understanding of the overarching concepts in the curriculum.”

So, who is eligible for this amazing, dynamic class? If your child is between a 3rd grade and 5th grade math level, they are eligible for our Enhanced class! “For children who really enjoy math, this is the best experience they can have to ‘geek out’ and see how far they can take their understanding,” explains Kim Ainsle, center director at the Explore Horizons Colleyville location. On the other side of the coin, Kim goes on to explain, this class is perfect for children who find math processing more challenging, but enjoys learning in group settings.

We have also seen outstanding results in children who may receive good grades in math, but may be too shy to raise their hand in class and around their peers, or who have become less enthusiastic about math because they are not being challenged enough. After a few months in our Enhanced Math class, we have had countless teachers and parents share encouraging feedback about our students now being the first to raise their hand to share their answers, lead group discussions and wanting to collaborate with their classmates to help them find the answers.

Our Enhanced Math class meets one night a week and is the ideal supplement to our tutoring and enrichment program. It is a great way to begin fostering skills in critical, abstract and collaborative thinking. Our tutors go beyond classroom needs to support the whole child by helping to develop confidence and by creating an atmosphere that encourages students to explain their thought process in a safe environment. If your child is in 3rd-5th grade math, at any skill level, don’t let another semester go by without enrolling in our Enhanced Math class!

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