Why Children Can’t Memorize Formulas Easily?

Math isn’t only about skill development; it also has real life application. In elementary schools, children learn about basic arithmetic skills and more advanced concepts, such as decimals, percents and fractions. There are many real life situations where math can be really helpful. Unfortunately, formulas could cause problems among children, because they can’t memorize them properly.

In many cases, students simply don’t know what the symbols stand for. It can be difficult to know where these symbols come from and they look meaningless. Because variables inside formulas can’t be understood, they won’t know the answers too. Overall, students can’t easily verbalize a thought about the formula. They will be clueless when asked about the formula.

Problems could result from the way these formulas are provided to students. In many cases, teachers don’t use proper diagrams that can help children to define relations between these formulas. As an example, formulas can be changed in different ways and variables in these formulas could be derived from other formulas.

Teachers may not simulate what will happen when other formula is inserted to the primary formula. In this case, one variable can be replaced another set of formula and this will introduce additional variables to the original formula. This step is useful when we want to determine the value of variables no included in the original formula.

Another problem is that some teachers don’t speak out loud by reading the formula slowly. They could simply say “this formula” while pointing on the board. By repeating these formulas in the classroom, it will be much easier for students to remember. Teachers could enhance comprehension by using flash cards in the class. Student could be asked to work in pair and one of them need to read the formula out loud three times by reading a card held by the other student.

The card will be turned over and student will be asked to say the formula out loud again, without seeing the card. This session can be performed when these formulas are first introduced to children in the classroom, however the flash card method shouldn’t be used more than 10 minutes, because our brain bore easily. After students have memorized all the necessary formulas, teachers could provide a short break and followed by real practices.

Some teachers fail to increase comprehension, because they don’t treat formulas as complete sentences. As an example, S = v x t, shouldn’t be read as S is equal to V times T. Teachers should say the whole formula, “distance is equal to velocity times time”. By repeating this over and over again in the class, students will remember the meaning of the formula better.

Formulas should be practiced in different ways, as an example, instead of looking for the value, teachers could ask children to find the values of velocity and time. This will allow students to approach the formula from different ways. This will significantly increase comprehension and students will be able to modify formulas properly based on specific requirements.


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