Most humans perform best in a Goldilocks zone of a little but not too much stress. That makes sense: Stress puts some pep in your step, but too much can bury you. You can see this Goldilocks zone in a classic study of Pennsylvania small-business owners in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Researchers interviewed 102 of these small-business owners and found that on the Subjective Stress Scale, which runs from 0 to 100, a level of perceived stress between 40 and 48 predicted the highest performance—business owners in this Goldilocks range of moderate stress got the most done, repairing their stores, dealing with insurance companies, getting back to work.
The question is how to help your kids stay in the productive, manageable, moderate zone of stress, even when school, friends, activities and life make the porridge too hot.
Recent study shows that more than just being good at math, the development of ‘mathematics identity’ comes from choosing to engage in math and having your ability recognized by others.
The other day I was sitting on a bench in Boulder, Colorado’s Pearl Street Mall and I overheard a young, hipsterish guy laughing about the fact that he kept messing up those subtraction Captchas — you know, the little puzzles that prove your humanity by asking things like 4 – __ = 2. I’ve blown my fair share of math problems. But what caught my ear wasn’t that he struggled with Captchas, it was the fact that he excused it, saying, “Hey, I’m not a numbers person…” Because he wasn’t a numbers person, it was okay to be bad at math. More than that, it was okay to not try to be good at math.
Posted in Brain, Education, Intelligence, Math, parenting, Science
Tagged Child Development, math education, math identity, math person, mathematics, mathematics identity, numbers person
Image: Flickr/Do-Hyun Kim cc license
In a community of LEGO-building parents, it’s only a matter of time before someone bemoans the idea that “when we were little” we all had trunks of loose bricks that we used to build the shapes and ships and castles and constructions of our imaginations (usually after walking home from school, three miles, uphill, and in the snow). Chances are, if you close your eyes, you can hear the distinctive sound of your hand running through a pile of bricks. For many of us, it was the soundtrack of childhood.
Now, increasingly, the soundtrack is the one-time pouring of pieces into a small pile, followed by the riffling of the instruction sheet. How many completed kits are still sitting on a high shelf in your child’s room, months or years after being built?
Posted in BEYOND IQ, Brain, Education, Intelligence, parenting, Science
Tagged complex problem solving, creativity research, creativity study, LEGO, Lego creativity, page moreau, problem solving, problem solving creativity, stillbirth, well-defined problem
Posted in Brain, Education, parenting, Science
Tagged Bias, Gender, girls and math, Kestrel, math, parenting, Parenting Science, Stereotype, stereotype threat