From: Motherboard

Kids Have an Instinct for Algebra—If They’re Taught Correctly


Given the fact that computers do all our computing for us now, I suspected that people would’ve given up trying to teach kids math. But as it turns out you can’t turn everything over to an engineer-bot yet, as building and programming robots turns out to require quite a bit of mathematics. And two studies this week have uncovered that, taught correctly, children seem to have a predilection for algebra.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences found that preschoolers and kindergarteners could also do basic algebra, solving for a hidden variable that was hidden in either a stuffed gator or cheetah’s cup. It was a pretty cute study—these kids are pretty stoked when they get the questions right.

“These very young children, some of whom are just learning to count, and few of whom have even gone to school yet, are doing basic algebra and with little effort,” the study’s lead author Melissa Kibbe said. “They do it by using what we call their ‘Approximate Number System’: their gut-level, inborn sense of quantity and number.”

Read the whole story: Motherboard

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