This toy was created after researching about a life-long math learning disability known as dyscalculia. It is as common as dyslexia (affecting 3–8% of children), but is less known. There are 7 main things dyscalculics struggle with:
2) pattern recognition;
4) math working memory;
5) grasping math language;
6) visual space;
A puzzle was created as a learning tool to help children with early symptoms of dyscalculia learn basic calculation, numeracy, pattern recognition and be exposed to the concept of visual space as they look for and attempt to place pieces together through the practice of rotating and flipping.
A common struggle dyscalculics have is that they have trouble recognizing and connecting the Arabic numeral symbols to its' corresponding number word and quantity meaning. They also tend to mix up the orientation of numbers, mistaking similar numbers with one another, such as 6 and 9. Each number plate in this puzzle contains the Arabic numeral, number word and and slots that provide an opportunity for the child to fill in the amount that represents the quantity definition of the number.
The puzzle is composed of 7 universal pieces and is to be played with the assistance of a parent or educator. The purpose of this is to have both the child and the parent or educator understand the common areas in which the child mistakes from one number to another. This provides opportunity for communication to explain the similarities and differences of each number symbol and how to fix the problem.
The activity can be played with the number plates (which provides details on which pieces are used to compose each number with a die-cut of how the number should look like) or without the number plate for more of a challenge. Each number has its' own unique colour to enhance pattern recognition. The children can associate each number to a specific colour when thinking about them, which enhances their ability to differentiate one number from another.
The slots for containing the dots are arranged in a domino or dice configuration. Research shows that by learning to count items in this configuration, early number learners are more likely to improve their pattern recognition of the numbers. This toy encourages children to count using this concept.