# View the World with Math Lenses

On this Power-Start!Mathematics website, I reach out to people who are actively involved in the lives of young children – parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers. My message to you concerns your special opportunity to make a tremendous difference in a child’s future achievement by incorporating important and foundational math ideas into everyday conversations and activities. What you learn by reading further will empower you for wearing “math lenses” and looking for math in your surroundings. Discard any thoughts that you are not “a math person” or that only a certain-few people can be good at math. In his book *The Math Gene*, mathematician Keith Devlin argues that everybody has them — math genes, that is. According to Devlin, “The features of the brain that enable us to do mathematics, are the very same features that enable us to use language – to speak to others and understand what they say.” I truly believe this and will try to convince you on every page of this website that every one of you can do math and that talking to children about the math in the world can make a powerful difference in their future achievement. Start talking to your infants and toddlers about the math all around you in the world — even before they are able to express their thoughts to you in words.

When you wear math lenses, you gain a much deeper understanding of the math you already know and develop ways to engage children’s interest in thinking mathematically — counting, comparing, ordering and classifying things, as well as distinguishing between geometric shapes. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by starting now with math!

**Math Proficiency by Third Grade**Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, federal law has required mandatory testing of all public school students in grades 3 through 8. If those of us who were involved in the lives of children as they grow from birth to third grade would engage them in thinking mathematically about our world and daily lives, we could begin building foundations leading to world-class math proficiency by third grade. On this web page, I present a**TOP – TEN LIST**of the math ideas and skills that third graders need to understand and be able to do to be considered proficient by international standards.**A Family Math Newsletter****World-Class Test Question Blog**For each question, I don’t just show you how to get the right answer but try to help you gain a deep understanding of the ideas involved; a well-developed sense of how numbers work; and a problem-solving flexibility through the use of multiple strategies. Then, in each post, I share with you ideas about building early foundations that lead to an understanding of this question by third grade. For a further introduction to my blog go to the Math Proficiency by Third Grade page, or go directly to my blog posts.**Activities**Available for purchase on this website are Power-Start!Mathematics® tool bags containing concrete materials and activity instructions for talking with children about numbers and shapes. The Activities page provides information about what’s in the tool bags and connects to other pages describing activities using these materials. I can’t overemphasize the importance of concrete experiences with math ideas in preschool for later success in math. By third grade, proficient students are operating mainly with words, numerals, and math symbols but it’s their previous concrete experiences that give meaning to the abstract representations of math ideas.