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Showing posts from November, 2008

Thanksgiving contest winners 1

I have had a fantastic turnout to my Thanksgiving contest - nearly 110 entries! Thanks to all that participated!

I have spent a lot of time reading the responses, and there are some among them that are just jewels - people's testimonials of how Math Mammoth has helped the children or even saved the entire homeschool.

In fact, while reading through, I decided to cast aside my earlier rules about the number of winners, and so there will be MORE winners than what I announced originally.

This post is about the results for the category 2: Give your excuses for not using Math Mammoth yet -- because these were simply easier to judge. Category 1 winners will be published soon after this.

I hope you will enjoy reading through the entries.

TOOT TO DOO DOO!

1st Prize: $50 credit to get Math Mammoth booksThere are two winners.

1. Robin G.

Excerpt from her entry:

... Finances have been very tight for us -- at times nonexistent! My husband suddenly became ill at the beginning of this year and has been …

Dividing decimals

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I feel students need to get grounded conceptually in this topic. So many times, all they learn about decimal division are the rules of how to go about decimal division when using long division, and it becomes an "empty" skill - a skill that lacks the conceptual foundation.

So for starters, we can do two different kinds of mental math division problems.

Division by a whole number - using mental math

Here it is easy to think, "So much is divided between so many persons".

0.9 ÷ 3 is like "You have nine tenths and you divide it between three people. How much does each one get?" The answer is quite easy; each person "gets" 0.3 or three tenths.

And... remember ALWAYS that you can check division problems by multiplication. Since 3 × 0.3 = 0.9, we know the answer was right.

0.4 ÷ 100 turns out to be an easy problem if you write 0.4 as 0.400:
0.400 ÷ 100 is like "You have 400 thousandths and you divide it between 100 people; how much does each one get?&quo…

Off-Road Algebra

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Here's an algebra resource that should interest (at least some) boys: Off-Road Algebra is a unit-study that revolves around the world of off-road motorcycle racing. The lessons fit pre-algebra and algebra, or approximately 9th grade.

For each of the 30 lessons, you view a video, then solve a problem. You'll also get printable explanations and solutions to all problems.

Glancing over the problems, they seem to cover a wide array of topics, such as miles per gallon, velocity, slope of ramps, GPS coordinates, decibels, acceleration, turn angles, lap times, and so on.

Off-Road Algebra

And it's all free (sponsored by Learning.com and Aha!Math) - so thanks, HotChalk and Learning.com!

Decimal multiplication

This is a tough topic... in a sense. It is not difficult at all, if you just follow the rule given in your math textbook, because the rule is pretty straightforward:
To multiply decimal numbers, multiply them as if there were no decimal points, and then put as many decimal digits in the answer as there are total in the factors.The difficulty is only if you try to understand why we have such a rule - where does it come from?

Understanding the rule for decimal multiplication is actually fairly simple, because it comes from fraction multiplication. But, I will propose here a little different way of explaining all this.

First, look over this decimal multiplication lesson that is taken from Math Mammoth Decimals 2 book.

It talks about how 0.4 × 45 is like taking 4/10 part of 45. The same applies if you have 0.4 × 0.9 - you can think of it as taking 4/10 part of 0.9.

Can you see now why the answer to 0.4 × 0.9 has to be smaller than 0.9?

Or, turn it around: 0.9 × 0.4 is taking 9/10 of 0.4, and so…

Thanksgiving contest

I feel very thankful for my book sales, for every one of them. So thank you, all my customers!

As a token of appreciation, I thought I'd host a little contest along these lines. I'll call it Math Mammoth Thanksgiving contest. Participate, and you may win some of my books!

Now, I will make you work a little for it, because this is a writing contest. You enter the contest by answering the question below.

There are two "categories": one for those folks who have already used Math Mammoth books, and another for those who haven't. Either way you can participate.

The writing prompts are as follows.

You have bought and used Math Mammoth books before:

Tell me your experience with the books, good or bad. Mention which book or books this is about, explain how you used them, the kids/students age or grade, their past "math experience", and how did the teaching and learning go.

You have never used a Math Mammoth book:

Explain WHICH book or product interests you most (see t…

Voting begins for Homeschool Blog Awards

The polls are up and ready for the 2008 Homeschool Blog Awards. There are 24 categories. My blog has been nominated for the "Best Curriculum or Business Blog" category.

You can go vote following this link.

Honestly, for me the biggest value in this is not actually the idea of competing for the awards, but the fact that I can donate prizes. (That has marketing value... more people find out about my books.)

But anyhow, it's a fun contest and gives us all lots of good blogs to check out!

A story of a teacher and a boy

You may have read this story before, but I got it today in an email from a friend. It's a good one to pass along! (And sorry, it's not math related... just a real good story. It's fiction, but could be true - and is well worth reading.)

The 5th Grade Teacher

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she Told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and Said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of…

Math Mammoth Grade 5-A Complete Worktext

Finally! Grade 5-A is available for the LightBlue Series (the complete curriculum series). The part A of 5th grade focuses on multi-digit multiplication and long divisionsimple equationsproblem solvingplace value with large numbers and the judicious use of a calculatorall operations with decimalsstatistics and graphingPlease see the table of contents and samples for a complete lesson list, and read more info here.

Another problem solving book

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I know there already exist books that teach problem solving and contain lots of word problems. Well, there is a new one on the block, now: Solving Math Problems by John R. Dixon. It contains math problems with extremely detailed solutions for middle school, high school, and (some) for college level.

He's made available a superb collection of samples from his book. Each sample has three completely solved problems. There's a sample file for pattern recognition problems, counting problems, word problems, optimization problems, and fun or "recreation" problems.

Even if you're not planning to buy any math books, I encourage you to check his samples and read them through, just for your own learning (and of your students). It isn't often that one finds such detailed expositions on how to solve word problems.

I'm a firm believer in the "apprentice" principle, when it comes to learning problem solving. In other words, one of the best ways to learn to sol…

Multiplication family group

The information below is from another Maria, namely MariaD from NaturalMath.com. I'm posting it here with her permission, as it might interest some of my readers.

Hello!

My name is MariaD, and I love multiplication. Natural Math is starting a research and development family group about this topic. You are cordially invited! Please forward this invitation to other families who may want to join.

There are three main benefits. You receive individual family math coaching. You access a community of other parents sharing questions and ideas. And you contribute to a beautiful and much needed web resource for the future. There are two main responsibilities. At least weekly, you will run custom family math activities you select. As needed, you will talk with me or other group members about your activities. We can talk by email, chat, voice, or face-to-face in Cary, North Carolina, USA. At this early stage, we need active group members. If you plan to be a quiet fly on the wall, please wait un…