Many children seem to be programmed for mathematics from birth, possessors of an innate mathematical ability. Research by psychologists and educationalists in Britain and America is revealing how people acquire an understanding of numbers from a very early age. Unfortunately, the way they learn clashes badly with the way maths is taught in school. A three-year-old, for example, would find the abstract question: what does 1+2 = totally meaningless. But the same child would have no problem in recognizing that, if a box contains two bricks and another brick is added, it will then contain three bricks. Abstract maths is more difficult, especially when teaching methods promote a cycle of incomprehension, failure, boredom and hatred. In response, many maths educationalists are demanding a change in teaching methods: a new approach which would recognize that children are mathematical thinkers in their own right, that conventional maths is non-maths, and that a shift to looking at what is going on inside the person is necessary. Horizon talks to the experts including Dr Martin Hughes at Exeter University and Dr Richard Skemp of Warwick University, who devises mathematical games for use in schools and asks what can be done to improve the situation? Meanwhile, at an ordinary primary school in England, an extraordinary maths class is being held. Here children are encouraged to invent their own maths problems to solve, and creating puzzles and games which lead them into areas of maths which they have never explored before. Problems such as The days of May divided by the sides of a cube hold the childrens interest, whilst encouraging them to attempt the difficult concept of decimals. It seems that the approach of combining abstract maths and concrete realities does work. But are schools willing to embrace a new methods over the conventional ways of teaching maths?--Kanopy.