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Exactly why is geometry so hard? One parent told us that when her daughter was in Primary 6, she was so overwhelmed by all the study of Geometry that the school had her doing to get through PSLE Maths that she even started seeing shapes in the street.

“That’s a rhombus,” she remarked, staring at a patch of grass one Saturday as she was waiting with her mum at a pelican crossing to cross the road.

Don’t leave your child’s study of maths to the last minute so they become overwhelmed in Primary 6. The sooner they get to grips with Geometry (and Algebra – you’ll see why later) in the course of their studies, the better.

Firstly, what is Geometry?

Geometry is a branch of mathematics that studies the shapes, sizes, positions, angles and dimensions of objects. It involves looking at two-dimensional objects in relation to their height, length and area, and three-dimensional objects in relation to their height, length, depth, area and volume.

It is used in architecture, engineering, aerodynamics and navigation to name a few.

Why is Geometry so hard for most kids?

Here’s the skinny on why Geometry is so hard for most kids – it’s not their fault!

The clues are in the picture and they aren’t always obvious

When a child learns Geometry, it is one of the first times they are left to puzzle things out only with a single image and little or no instructions. The clues are all in the picture provided but they often have difficulty recognising them or seeing how the information contained in the picture is relevant to solving the puzzle.

It’s a multi-step process

It takes some detective work to solve a Geometry problem. You usually can’t just take one set of information and there’s the answer. Your child will likely have to go through a series of steps involving different sections of the picture to get to the answer. This can get confusing when you aren’t used to it and it’s easy to lose your place or train of thought.

It’s a question of perspective

Most children have difficulties when it comes to geometry questions because they have problem visualising how 3D, 2D, shapes, angles and lines relate from different perspectives. This can completely stump even children who excel at regular math problem sums. No matter how good their maths skills are, many simply have problems solving maths questions when they involve geometric figures.

If your child is having trouble cracking the Geometry code, some dedicated tuition that gives insights into the hows and whys of Geometry puzzles can go a long way to improving their skills in this tricky but fascinating branch of mathematics.

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