Math & Problem Solving
A few years ago, UNESCO declared that learning mathematics through problem solving activities was the most efficient way for a person to develop lasting mathematical skills and one of the best ways to prepare students to meet the challenges of the future. With this in mind, we provide courses that will challenge and promote the problem solving skills of all our students.
The main objective of our Math and Problem Solving classes is to develop students’ habits and skills in working through the four crucial steps of problem solving:
- Understanding the problem
- Understanding which problem solving strategy to utilize
- Solving the problem
- Checking the answer
These courses focus on developing and improving learning skills and independent thinking in the following areas:
- Problem-solving strategies
- Memory development
- Managing stress and test anxiety
- Logic and reasoning
- Techniques for problem solving
- Creative, critical, and lateral thinking
- Reading comprehension
The program is divided into five levels of difficulty in order to address the different ages and knowledge sets of students. Each level offers more than 1200 fascinating problems, exercises, and games requiring myriad thinking and problem solving strategies. The students tackle problems of increasing complexity under the guidance of experienced educators with specialty training and post-graduate education in this area of study.
These courses run from September through June each year. Classes are held once per week,and each session is two hours in length. The material and strategies learned in the class are practiced and reinforced through regular homework assignments. Parents are kindly asked to provide the necessary structure for their children to complete the homework a little at a time each day–spacing their work throughout the week (approx. 15 – 20 minutes a day).
A Note on Math Homework at Brain Power
We believe in encouraging children to develop a “growth mindset” that views challenges as “energizing rather than intimidating” because “they offer opportunities to learn” (Dweck 2015). This requires that students are challenged, and that means getting stuck on certain questions, getting certain questions incorrect, and returning to rethink certain questions more than once. This is why we deliberately split our homework questions between those that:
- Give students an opportunity to reiterate and reinforce skills and techniques that they have learned (or seen demonstrated) in the classroom.
- Challenge students to use their creative thinking to tackle problems that go a bit beyond what they have learned (or seen demonstrated) in the classroom.
If students get a homework question incorrect, they should reattempt (but not resubmit) it before the next class. (Parents should not feel obligated to “step in” to explain the problem to their child.) In the next class, the instructor will review all of the homework questions, taking extra time to explain those that students found particularly challenging. Not only does this approach encourage children’s academic growth, but it also bolsters their self-reliance, resilience, creativity, and flexibility in the face of intellectual challenges.