Instrumental understanding means a child understands a rule or procedure and has the ability to use it.
Relational understanding means a child knows what to do and can explain the why behind the procedure.
Relational understanding includes instrumental understanding where the child can connect rules and ideas to one another. Although developing relational understanding may take more time, it is critical to helping children connect and develop relationships between and among concepts.
In order to achieve the perfect balance between how the teacher teaches and how the student learns, the teacher must start with what the child already understands and build from this.
In think!Mathematics students are reminded to build awareness of the thinking process and how to monitor and use what they already know. We can foster this by asking, "What do we know about division that can help us understand another problem or the way in which we record our thinking?"
Constantly challenge yourself this month to possibly think about math in ways other than how you learned it. Focus on building relational understanding as we teach the basic operations.
This month our sessions focus on these types of understandings around the concepts of whole number operations.