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  • Writer's pictureKate

Resource of the day: Khan Academy

This is an absolutely brilliant free resource for learning maths, computer programming, a whole lot of history, sciences and various other bits- though it's mostly a maths and programming platform.

You'll need to create an account at -the "sign up" button is up in the top right hand corner- and if you're under 13, you'll need to link it to a parent's or carer's email.

There are also fantastic partner program options like learning about how animation works with Pixar at Pixar In A Box and doing crazy and fun maths with Mathamusician Vi Hart

If you normally go to school you're probably not familiar with self-directing your learning, so there are a few pointers which might be useful. in fact, these pointers have been useful with every single person we've helped learn to use self-directed platforms as it's quite different from being taught in a school- so do have a go at following them!

Before you start, it's worth remembering that the American grade system is a year out from the UK system: US 6th Grade is UK year 7, and the systems learn quite different maths in each year- there's a lot more geometry early on in the US system than in the UK national curriculum. So don't worry if things that you "should have done" are totally unfamiliar, or if "easy" stuff keeps showing up when you're not expecting it.

1. It's a new platform, so don't expect to be able to work at your "usual" or "age average" level until you get used to how the questions work. Go right back to stuff that's too easy, even if that means counting pictures of elephants for a while on the early maths section. Khan Academy learns very quickly what you can do- don't worry, you won't be stuck on the elephants for ever!

2. You will get things wrong. And get stuck. That's GOOD- it's the way you learn what you can't yet do. Follow these steps to get unstuck and learn new stuff:

a) Re-read the question. You might be stuck because you misread something.

If that doesn't solve it:

b) Watch the video. You should be doing this BEFORE trying unfamiliar exercises as a rule anyway- after a little while, you'll need to watch a video before trying almost any new exercise.

If that doesn't solve it:

c) Use the hints. Yes, using the hints means you don't get a point for that question- but the computer needs to know that you're stuck so it can help you! There's no shame in getting things wrong- giving up is the only thing you shouldn't do. But saying that...

If that doesn't solve it:

d) Try googling the problem. Sometimes it might be that there's just a little something which the Khan Academy explanation didn't help you with, which a different explanation might sort out.

If that doesn't solve it:

e) Ask another person, if there's anyone you're with who might be able to help you.

If that doesn't solve it:

f) Try something else! If you're this stuck, either go back a couple of grades and find similar problems that are less complicated, or take a break, walk away from the computer and do something totally different for a while. Giving your brain a break is generally a really good plan!

And remember, this should be fun and challenging, not upsetting or boring. Choose the things that look interesting, and enjoy yourself!

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