How the Brain Learns Mathematics

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Learn how the brain processes mathematical concepts and why some students develop math anxiety!

David A. Sousa discusses the cognitive mechanisms for learning mathematics and the environmental and developmental factors that contribute to mathematics difficulties. This award-winning text examines:

  • Children’s innate number sense and how the brain develops an understanding of number relationships
  • Rationales for modifying lessons to meet the developmental learning stages of young children, preadolescents, and adolescents
  • How to plan lessons in Pre K–12 mathematics
  • Implications of current research for planning mathematics lessons, including discoveries about memory systems and lesson timing
  • Methods to help elementary and secondary school teachers detect mathematics difficulties
  • Clear connections to the NCTM standards and curriculum focal points

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Sylwester
"An excellent, well-organized, well-written book—practical advice grounded in solid research andpresented in compelling language."
Carol Amos
"Totally absorbing. I found myself discussing different aspects of it with my colleagues and reading passages out loud to my husband. Any teacher who teaches math should have this on his or her book list."
Renee Ponce-Nealon
"This text is written the way we should be teaching—making you eagerly anticipate what is coming next."
Daniel Raguse
"The cognitive findings of this book are powerful andaffirming and add support to my current work and practice. I took away powerful concepts that have enormous implications for teaching and learning mathematics."
Deborah Gordon
"The very bottom line is that this book is about what is best for helping students learn mathematics and helping teachers teach it in a way that is purposeful and meaningful for their students."
Janice Bradley
"The book’s unique contribution to the field is the connection of research to educational practice, providing a common language for researchers and practitioners to begin dialogues about learning mathematics."
Mary Thoreen
"I am so impressed with this book that I believe it should be required reading for all teachers who teach math at any level."
Jim Barta
"This book has actually changed the way I think now of teaching math in particular and learning in general, and I’ve been teaching math for over 25 years."
California Bookwatch
"Comes from a respected author and researcher who explores the latest neuroscientific findings in learning and math cognition. Pairs research with lesson plans specific to elementary and secondary school teachers."
Curriculum Connections
"Teachers of all grade levels will be intrigued by Sousa’s explanation of the brain processes involved in learning math concepts and why so many people find them difficult to understand. Developmentally appropriate math strategies and lessons for pre K-12 students that focus on both memory and meaning are offered, along with a section on diagnosing and addressing difficulties in students."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412953061
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 9/18/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 238,399
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. David A. Sousa is an international consultant in educational neuroscience and author of 15 books that suggest ways that educators and parents can translate current brain research into strategies for improving learning. A member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, he has conducted workshops in hundreds of school districts on brain research, instructional skills, and science education at the Pre-K to 12 and university levels. He has made presentations to more than 100,000 educators at national conventions of educational organizations and to regional and local school districts across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Dr. Sousa has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bridgewater State University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in science from Harvard University, and a doctorate from Rutgers University. His teaching experience covers all levels. He has taught senior high school science, served as a K-12 director of science, a supervisor of instruction, and a district superintendent in New Jersey schools. He has been an adjunct professor of education at Seton Hall University and a visiting lecturer at Rutgers University.

Prior to his career in New Jersey, Dr. Sousa taught at the American School of Paris (France), and served for five years as a Foreign Service Officer and science advisor at the USA diplomatic missions in Geneva (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria).

Dr. Sousa has edited science books and published dozens of articles in leading journals on staff development, science education, and educational research. His most popular books for educators, all published by Corwin Press, include: How the Brain Learns, fourth edition; How the Special Needs Brain Learns, second edition; How the Gifted Brain Learns; How the Brain Learns to Read; How the Brain Influences Behavior; and How the Brain Learns Mathematics, which was selected by the Independent Publishers’ Association as one of the best professional development books of 2008. The Leadership Brain suggests ways for educators to lead today’s schools more effectively. His books have been published in French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and several other languages.

Dr. Sousa is past president of Learning Forward (formerly NSCD). He has received numerous awards from professional associations, school districts, and educational foundations for his commitment to research, staff development, and science education. He recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate from Bridgewater (Massachusetts) State University, and an honorary doctorate from Gratz College in Philadelphia.

Dr. Sousa has been interviewed by Matt Lauer on the NBC Today Show and by National Public Radio about his work with schools using brain research. He makes his home in south Florida.

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Table of Contents

About the Author
1. Developing Number Sense
2. Learning to Calculate
3. Reviewing the Elements of Learning
4. Teaching Mathematics to the Preschool and Kindergarten Brain
5. Teaching Mathematics to the Preadolescent Brain
6. Teaching Mathematics to the Adolescent Brain
7. Recognizing and Addressing Mathematics Difficulties
8. Putting It All Together: Planning Lessons in Pre K-12 Mathematics

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    A reviewer

    As a retired math teacher I was skeptical about a book that would exlain how the brain learns mathematics. But I was very much intrigued by the author's explanations of recent research in this area, especially number sense. I taught math for 25 years, yet I still learned a lot from this book. Of particular value are the teaching strategies that the author suggests that are based on the research. I also found the section on math anxiety to be very illuminating. it almost made me want to go back to the classroom and try some of the author's suggestilons for lowering math anxiety in my students. It's a terrific book, and any teacher of math, regardless of grade level, should have it and use it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 3, 2009

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    Posted August 24, 2009

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