Advice Column, Child, Education

Mastering Mental Math Through Movement – Gymathstics®

  • Gymathstics
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Education

What is Gymathstics®?

Gymathstics® is an educational math program designed to meet each child’s individual learning style in a fun and easy way. Children learn through 3 learning styles and there are three types of learners:

  • Visual Learner
  • Auditory Learner
  • Kinesthetic learner

The Gymathstics® approach caters for every learner, thereby creating a multi-sensory approach to learning math.

The Gymathstics® mental maths through movement program is delivered through 5 gym levels:

  • Gymlevel 1: Space and shape 
  • Gymlevel 2: Data handling and 
  •                     measurement.
  • Gymlevel 3: Number recognition and 
  •                     association. Concrete and semi-concrete
  •                     concepts.
  • Gymlevel 4: Relationships, representation and 
  •                       patterns
  • Gymlevel 5: Overall assessment

The Gymathstics® programme can be adapted to any curriculum and is in line with outcomes in the CAPS document.

History of the Programme

The Gymathstics® Programme is a new innovative and a developing concept. The Gymathstics® programme was developed by Rizwana.Dinath a qualified educator. The classes began as a conventional math’s tuition with four learners. Through these classes she observed that they were aware of the steps involved in mathematics but experienced difficulty with mental math’s concept.

To help these learners Rizwana began using brain stimulating exercises to help them make connection between movements and remembering their mental math. Within a two weeks she saw an immediate improvement and within a month she saw an unbelievable improvement. This amazing achievement sparked an ambition in Rizwana to want to share this amazing process with every child. This is what led Rizwana to developing the Gymathstics® programme.

 Theoratical Background of Gymathstics® Programme

The philosophical foundation of the Gymathstics programme is based on the work of Jean Piaget.

According to Piaget, children construct their own knowledge by interacting with the environment. They continually make sense of their world through everything they encounter.

Piaget divides knowledge into three areas:

  • Physical Knowledge: learning about objects/shapes in the environment through observation.
  • Logico-Mathematical Knowledge: refers to relationships a child constructs to make sense of his surrounding and thereby organize and categorize information.
  • Social knowledge: develops through group learning and interaction.

Physical and logico-mathematical knowledge depend on each other, and develop simultaneously in a social learning setting.

These areas of knowledge are integrated into the Gymathstics programme in the following ways:

Physical knowledge is learned through the 3D resources and multi-sensory experiences during Gymathstics sessions. 

Logico-mathematical knowledge is gained with the use of the clip counter kits. The children link their experiences with the 3D resources to the clip counters. They learn concepts of more and less, number classification, sorting, color and shape, addition, subtraction, data handling, patterning, logical thinking and problem solving to name a few.

Social knowledge is gained through the Gymathstics® group setting as well as through the challenging games and practical activities which learners experience. 

According to Piaget, autonomy (independence) is the aim of education. Intellectual autonomy develops in an atmosphere where children feel secure in their relationships with adults, where they have opportunities to share ideas with other children, and where they are encouraged to be alert, curious and come up with interesting ideas, problems and question. Children use their initiative in finding the answers to problems and have confidence in their ability to figure out things for themselves and speak their minds with confidence. Children need to be presented with problems to be solved through games and other activities. They must work with concrete materials and real problems.

It is your job to ensure that the Gymathstics® programme creates a secure atmosphere where children can explore, interact and build confidence to be able to become problem solvers, logical thinkers and challenge themselves to new heights.

Aim of Gymathstics

The aim of Gymathstics® is to help learners build pathways in the brain to develop mathematical concepts and relationships in a fun and meaningful way. It strives to create a love for math. 

Gymathstics® aims to develop the necessary skills for thinking, abstract reasoning, and problem solving. All of these skills forms the basis of mathematical understanding. Creating a multi-sensory approach to learning math

The ability to think and solve problems are crucial to learning. Thinking and problem solving skills are the highest order skills, to which mathematical capabilities can be attributed. 

Thinking involves the ability to recognize and categorize, thereby enabling the child to use these basic skills to later discover and investigate answers which are based on abstract reasoning. In order for a child to reach a level of abstract reasoning they need to be exposed to a range of concrete and semi-concrete activities. 

Gymathstics® aims to provide this to the learners so that mathematics can be a fun learning area and promotes the whole brain approach to learning.

( N. Herman,1987)

Advantages of Gymathstics across the curriculum.

  • Keep learners physically and mentally fit.
  • Gross motor skills with the use of the balance beam.
  • Fine motor skills with the use of clip-counters
  • Listening skills with point response technique.
  • Visual Memory skills with match up technique.
  • Concentration with use of exercises.
  • Sequencing skills with use of number squares.
  • Confidence when working with numbers.
  • Eye –hand co-ordination with number balls.
  • Think logically and develops problem solving skills.
  • Social interaction by means of group learning.
  • Crossing the mid-line with the math tube.
  • Communication skills by means of assessment techniques.
  • Eye-hand co-ordination with snatch it game

Learning math requires children to link language with images as they work

through equations- We aim to achieve this through the Gymathstics®

Gymathstics® Philosophy

The Gymathstics® philosophy of teaching math through movement strives to encourage and motivate young children to love math. We aim to do this through multi-sensory, practical and hands on activities. 

Together we will build bridges to change the way young children learn maths.

For more information log onto www.gymathstics.co.za to get involved

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