The Best Math Tool Your Child Isn't Using


graph paper with long division equation

A significant source of frustration in elementary math learning is errors caused by not being able to track digits through lengthy computations. A child subtracting a three-digit number from a four-digit number, for example, might meet with frustration if he tries to subtract a digit in the tens place from a digit in the hundreds place. Multi-digit multiplication, long division, and fraction computations can be similarly challenging if a student's writing is not neat and well spaced. Children's eyes will skip over digits, or they might miss steps in their computation.

There is, however, a simple fix —graph paper. When each number gets its own box, and there are lines to keep work in tidy vertical columns, math equations become easier to work out accurately. Even speedy writers and those with poor handwriting benefit from the structure provided by the grid. If you don't happen to have a packet of graph paper in the house, you can always run some off on your home printer. Find a very simple template here or customize your options here.

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