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How to Teach Children the Concept of Integration: Breaking It Down to Simpler Parts

Family Education Maria Taylor 198 views 0 comments

Explaining the concept of integration to children can be a challenging task, but it is essential for them to understand the concept as it lays the foundation for advanced mathematical ideas. In this article, we will analyze the problem and propose solutions to help teach children the concept of integration in a simpler and more understandable manner.

The problem at hand is that the child cannot understand how integration works in terms of approximating the actual area under a curve. The child thinks that no matter how many times we approximate, the result will always be slightly different from the actual area, which makes her reluctant to accept that it can be considered the same.

One reason for this misunderstanding could be that the concept of infinity and limits is abstract and hard to grasp for children. Moreover, integration involves various high-level concepts such as derivatives, functions, and limits, which can be incredibly overwhelming. Therefore, the best way to overcome this problem is by breaking the concept into smaller and comprehensible parts and connecting each part to a relatable, practical example.

First, we need to explain the basics of area and what it means to find the area under a curve. Teaching this through a visual representation, for instance, by using pictures of geometric shapes, can be helpful. For example, we can start with a simple rectangle and explain how area is calculated by multiplying the length and width of the rectangular shape. Further, we can explain how getting the area under a curve is different and more complicated than finding the area of a rectangle.

Secondly, we need to introduce the idea of approximation, which is the basis of the Riemann Sum. We can use a relatable example—such as counting the number of candies in a jar—to explain how approximation works in finding the actual area. We can divide the jar of candies into rows and columns, count each row’s number of candies, and then sum up all the rows to calculate the total number of candies. Similarly, we can explain that to find the area under a curve, we divide the curve into small shapes called rectangles, calculate the area of each rectangle, and then sum up all the rectangles.

Thirdly, we need to explain the concept of limits, which can be introduced by comparing the approximation to the actual area. We can explain that the smaller and thinner the rectangles, the more accurate the approximation will be to the actual area. Therefore, as we divide the curve into smaller rectangles, we can get closer to the actual area. To make this concept more relatable, we can use an example such as painting a wall and explain that the more paint coats we apply, the closer we get to the actual wall color.

By breaking the concept of integration into smaller parts, providing practical examples, and using relatable illustrations, children can develop a better understanding of integration’s dynamics. In conclusion, teaching children the concept of integration is challenging but not impossible. With the right approach and tools, we can break down complex concepts to make them more understandable to children by incorporating their interests and utilizing comprehensible examples.

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