It encourages students to see the fun and creativity in maths as well as developing genuine problem-solving abilities. It seeks to move away from traditional maths teaching methods which tend to encourage memorization of facts and formulae. Here are some of the many benefits of inquiry maths learning:
Students who study maths through inquiry lessons improve independent problem solving skills
Inquiry-based learning teaches students how to find patterns, figure out properties, and discover new rules of mathematics. They slowly learn how their brain actually progresses through the idea to get them from "lost" to "ohhhhh, I see what the pattern is." After this becomes second nature, they will be more ready to attack future unknown situations.
Students understand maths concepts more deeply when they are discovered
After discovering a mathematical property on their own, students will truly understand the concept behind the rule. Instead of following a set procedure, they will understand WHY a rule works and HOW it was developed. Northbridge teachers allow their students to build a concept, not just follow a given process.
Students discover a new level of math confidence & self-motivation
When students feel the pride that comes from discovering a theorem, property, or formula for themselves (just like a mathematician does!), they suddenly gain a new level of confidence in their own math abilities. Northbridge teachers often share with each other how they notice students have a sudden willingness to try a new challenge or approach a different type of problem instead of giving up. Kids believe in their ability to apply knowledge from one situation to another.
Retention increases HUGELY when concept mastery replaces memorization
If a student develops a formula, rule, or property for himself, then they understand on a deeper level where it came from. They won't have to memorize it at all. The student can reproduce the formula at any time because they "discovered" it. This is especially true if it was done in a hands-on way. During a test, or later in life, the development of the idea is what will help a student recall how a property works or how to recreate the formula.
You as parents can also encourage your child to be maths inquirers through helping them see and question real life maths problems such as how much things will cost and how much change you will get at the store, or how much ingredients you will need to cook a certain dish etc.
Try to avoid giving them the answers or big hints too quickly if they don’t know the answers straight away. Allow them to struggle through the problem for a while. They will get used to this process and it will benefit them in the long run!