Showing posts from April, 2018

Is it OK to let a child use a 100-chart for math facts?

I recently got a question concerning a 3rd grader who has always had difficulty with number memorization and counts on her fingers. Mom is planning to start Math Mammoth grade 2 with her.

Her question is, "Is it okay to let her use a 100 chart while going through the program and completing the assignments? We will also continue to practice math facts with flash cards, etc."

I would say that using a 100-chart for a crutch is okay for children who have learning disabilities, and in situations where different methods to learn the math facts have been tried for years with no avail.

However, before resigning to that, I feel one should teach the child STRATEGIES and PATTERNS for addition and subtraction facts. Flash cards are based on rote memorization, which is the hardest way to memorize anything. It's much easier on children once they can see math facts in a CONTEXT, and once they have learned various strategies for addition and subtraction (also called number sense).

I do …

A tour around the Math Mammoth website

Do you perhaps have questions concerning the various Math Mammoth products? Feeling confused about the many options?

I have completely revamped and updated the email "tour" around Math Mammoth website... Math Mammoth Tour, I call it.

This email tour takes you "around" the various series of Math Mammoth books, plus a few other important topics, in seven different emails (TOURSTOPS) over the course of a week.

It's completely free!

Simply click here to sign up!

The trouble with word problems

It's time to talk about WORD PROBLEMS!

Why is it that many children have such trouble with them?

Image by RadioFlyer007 (black border removed)
Licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 I've written some thoughts about this issue... I feel it is fairly comprehensive article, and hopefully helpful! Let me know what you think.

Here's the outline of the article:
The problemThe solutionProblems to ponder/solveStudent's Misguide to Problem SolvingResources
And here's the beginning:

The problem Have you ever noticed this kind of "recipe" for math lessons in many math books?

Explanation and examples.
Numerical exercises.
A few word problems.
In other words, the word problems are usually in the END of the lesson, and just a few. But worse... if the lesson is about topic X, then the word problems are usually about the topic X too!

Children might be learning about multi-digit multiplication, or subtraction, or dividing decimals. After the calculation exercises come…

The origin of math symbols

Here's a delightfully animated, short video about where math symbols come from... in case or your children or you ever wondered. :)

Bad attitude towards math

Someone recently asked me advice concerning a 4th grade daughter who has a not good (negative) attitude towards math, along with her struggling with math. This mother said she always focused on reading and comprehension (which the daughter does well), but she didn't focus enough on math.  This girl has convinced herself that she doesn't like math and that she is not good at math. Mom desperately wants to change her way of thinking!

The girl had done placement tests or the end-of-year tests for grades 1, 2, and 3, and those showed some inconsistencies... like she did much better on the money section for 2nd grade than for 1st. Some really EASY questions (like 6 - 2 and other subtraction facts) from 1st grade were answered wrong. The 2nd grade test was about 60%, and 3rd grade, she didn't try most questions.

I asked her to REDO 4 problems from the 1st grade EoY test... and then she got them almost all correct! Which meant, she passed the 1st grade test just fine.

It made me …