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Math is NOT Just for Boys

Math is NOT Just for Boys

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - October 3rd, 2016

Is Math JUST for Boys?



Math Just for Boys

According to an academic study* done by University of Washington researchers on 247 children aged 6-10, American kids grow up hearing that “math is for boys” — and that stereotype becomes ingrained in our gender-based identities as early as second grade.


Researchers gave participants timed self-concept and word-association tests using a computer. In the self-concept test, boys identified themselves with math more often than girls did, while girls also associated math terms with boys. So, what can you do at home to instill important underlying math skills at an early age equally to both sons and daughters (this is especially important if you’re raising brothers and sisters who are close in age or attending the same school together)? It’s easier than you think!


Ways to Build Basic Math Concepts into Your Child’s Day


Here are five great, effective ideas to help instill basic math concepts in your child:


1. Integrate math language into your everyday conversations.


  • “What do you want to do first?”
  • “How many eyes do you have?”
  • “Take three more bites of spinach.”
  • “Be sure to rinse your plate off before putting it in the dishwasher.”


2. Talk about adding and subtracting things.


  • “Here are three cookies. If you eat one cookie, how many will you have left?”
  • “You can take one stuffed animal and two race cars over to grandma’s. How many toys should go into your backpack?”

3. Sort things into groups (especially while assigning chores). 


  • “Let’s separate the clothes into piles by darks and lights.”
  • “Please put the little toys in the drawer and thebigger toys in the chest.”

4. Put things in order by size. 


  • “Let’s put the books back on your bookshelf starting with the shorter books and ending with the tallest.”
  • “Place the biggest wooden blocks back in the box first, then add the smaller ones.”

5. Compare everything!


  • “What are all the differences between this chocolate chip cookie and that peanut butter one?”
  • “How is my tennis ball similar to your orange?”
  • “What do pepperoni slices, Cheerios and Frisbees all have in common?”



Incorporating these basic concepts into your daily conversation will hopefully add up to a lifelong love of math in your child!

* “Math–Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children” by Dario Cvencek, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Anthony G. Greenwald, published in the journal Child Development, Vol. 82.

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