Introduction of the manual:
The aptitude to learn means the use of cognitive functions. By mediating learning experiences, the pupil develops firstly universal cognitive strategies, which enable him to tackle certain tasks and problems. This happens during the so-called input phase by conceptual uptake; during the process of elaboration through mediation of strategies which support the thinking process and finally during the output by control of impulsivity.
Because the child will achieve all of this by playing, he will strengthen his trust in his intellectual capabilities, which again supports his self-esteem and self-confidence. Subsequently this will motivate him to dare other things too. In other words, motivation comes with success and positive feedback.
Step by step we introduce the “players” to the games, according to their capabilities. By playing with MickMath, the cogitation is being trained, with emphasis on improving inadequate cognitive functions.
The inadequate cognitive functions are grouped in to 3 phases:
MickMath is a comprehensive, modular concept consisting of over 30 different games. Children become, in a playful way, friends with arithmetic and logical thinking. Playing, they get to understand the relationship between quantities without the mediation of abstract numbers by means of perceiving shapes and colours only.
Through trial and error, children experience how to build a new quantity. The combinations of various colours and shapes make it easy for the child to recognize the relationship between different sums and quantities and to understand how the results were achieved.
We are not only talking about acquiring new strategies and techniques but we want to change the attitude of the pupil away from passivity and the feeling of being doomed towards supportive, dynamic and motivated activities.
Objectives and mediation:
MickMath guides children to solve tasks in a structured way by taking the following steps:
Compare: children should make sure that they compare all information given to them, so that they realize where the similarities and differences lie.
Categorize: When a child is used to categorizing information they will soon realize that even very complex tasks can become clearer once they have a better overview. E.g. A child trying to lay a puzzle, ignoring the fact that all the parts that belong to the edge have a straight side, will find it difficult, frustrating and prolong the process until, in the worst case, they might even give up.
Organize (To put into order): This is when they put information into order, a precondition for later understanding where numbers appear in a digit span.E.g. While packing the rucksack children should pay attention to the order of how they pack, i.e. heavy apples should not be placed on top of the soft tomatoes.
Relate: This is when children draw conclusions (or consequences) enabling them to solve their task. E.g. if a child understands that it was easy to begin the puzzle because they categorized the straight edges, they then draw the conclusion that categorization is the correct strategy for completing the puzzle.
Estimate: Arithmetic is not only a question of analytical, logical thinking (left hemisphere) but intuitive estimation (right hemisphere) as well. Using both hemispheres is vital and children should be encouraged to use the tool of estimation.
Movement and Rhythm: Experiencing body movement with rhythm and beat stimulates the internalization and understanding of the newly acquired skills
Because playing and learning are so essential, all MickMath games take the following into account:
The Games are attractive and simple to play, use strategies, luck and chance and have explicit learning goals by means of a wide variety of games (same subject with multiple applications) as well as structured goals which gradually increase in difficulty.
Last but not least: Games have rules. Within a group, children learn to adhere to rules as well as remain within certain boundaries, essential for integrating in to any society.