Month: November 2010

Easy Steps To Help Learn Elementary Math

If you have a young child who is trying to learn math – here is a good article that will give you some pointers to help make learning math much easier for your child.

Three Easy Ways To Help With Elementary Math

By: Clarence Bailey
ever brought home math homework and you have no idea how to assist them? Students no longer learn math the way you and I learned math. They are now exploring, drawing, and developing their own strategies to solve a problem. This leaves many parents in the dark about how to help their child in math. In addition, some people just are not “math people” and therefore feel like they don’t know how to help their child. I am going to give you three easy ways to help with elementary math from home.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #1- One of the easiest ways for a child to learn math concepts is to use manipulatives. Manipulatives are items that your child can move around, group, take away from, add to, etc. These can be anything you have in your house (beans, skittles, grapes, etc.).Manipulatives help children who are struggling in math because they help to bring the problem to life. Your child will now be able to “act out” the story problem, which helps them better understand what they are supposed to do in order to work out the problem or equation.

 

When children use manipulatives they show the word problem using the manipulatives. For instance, if a child was dividing 72 by 9, he or she would count out 72 beans and then group them into groups of 9. He or she would then count how many groups they have to find their answer. To extend this activity, students can label what they are doing so they can connect the manipulatives with drawings or numbers.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #2- If you don’t have manipulatives at home or if they are completing their work in the car, before baseball practice, or anywhere that manipulatives are not available your child can draw pictures. It might seem too simple to be true, but I have had many experiences where a child was stuck on a problem until they drew a picture and visually saw the problem instead of simply reading it. Drawing pictures of the word problem or equation helps a child see exactly what they are going to do in the problem. They are also able to manipulate the items they are working with, which makes it more fun and meaningful to them.

Drawings work a lot like manipulatives, but students are now strictly using paper and pencil and drawings instead of physically manipulating items. To make this activity more meaningful, your child should label their drawing with numbers, skip counting, or however they are counting the objects in their picture. I always tell my students that anyone should be able to fully understand what they are doing just by looking at their work.

Help with Elementary Math Tip #3- When your child is stuck on a problem try making the numbers smaller. In many cases, children are overwhelmed with big numbers. They see large numbers and automatically think the problem is going to be difficult. Making the numbers smaller doesn’t change the concept, it just makes it easier for them to work through the problem and it gives them confidence that they can complete the problem. Once they can successfully answer the problem with smaller numbers have them try using the bigger numbers. Just remind them to do the same thing with the bigger numbers that they did with the smaller numbers.

Math is a difficult subject for many children. A lot of times they come home and you just don’t know how to help them. Some of the best ways you can help your child succeed in math is to let them use manipulatives, have them draw pictures, and to change the numbers in the problem. They can use one or all of these strategies on the same problem. Utilizing these three easy tips with your child will help with elementary math skills and get them started on the path towards excellence in math.

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So there you have it! If you use these tips I believe that you’ll find teaching math to your young student is (as Sherlock Holmes would say) elementary my dear Watson!

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Word Problems Are Fun!

You may recall getting very nervous when your teacher said “OK class, today we’re going to do some word problems to help you learn math.” I use to break out into a cold sweat! But it doesn’t need to be thaat way for you or your children. Check out this article written by Joe Pagano. Perhaps your view of word problems will change!

In Mathematics, Word Problems Can Be Fun
By Joe Pagano

One of the biggest hurdles your youngster has to overcome in school is the terrible bugaboo which is a math word problem. During my many years of private instruction, the one complaint I have heard all too many times is that of the inability to conquer the word problem. Yet word problems can be tackled successfully. This article outlines how.

Word problems are more difficult that “regular” math problems because the solution requires one to first determine what has to be done and then how to do it. Thus a word problem, unlike the solution of an equation such as x + 3 = 4, and then asking for the value of x, requires one to determine what equations can be extracted from the words, and then how to solve those specific equations.

Another difficulty lies in a student’s inability to read at a level necessary to make sense out of the words that make up the problem. Poor readers will generally make poor word problem solvers. This is why I teach students critical reading skills, among which are techniques such as “anticipatory reading” and other active reading competencies. Such methods not only give students a tremendous boost in their mathematical abilities but cross over into other disciplines requiring reading, such as social studies and English.

In order to better understand these strategies, we will look at a specific word problem at the pre-algebra/algebra level, and then see how to implement such techniques. The problem we shall discuss is on the topic of systems of equations in algebra.

Word Problem Example: Five hockey sticks and three hockey pucks cost $23. Five hockey sticks and one hockey puck cost $20. How much do two pucks cost?

Word Problem Strategies:

First Pass: This is the stage at which we just read the problem to get a “feel” for what is going on within. During this stage, we are not trying to solve the actual problem but just get an overall sense of what the problem deals with.

Second Pass: This is the stage when we re-read the problem, paying careful attention to the situation at hand, what the problem deals with, who the main players are, and so forth. During this stage, we start to mull over some problem solving strategies and start to plan our attack.

Third Pass: This is the brainstorming stage. At this point we clearly determine what the nature of the problem is, what we know, and what we are asked to do. This is when we start to convert words to numbers and equations and quantify everything within the problem.

Fourth Pass: This is the stage at which we begin to solve the problem using the information we gathered in the third pass. At this stage, we also double check our brainstorming phase to insure that we took the right approach.

Fifth Pass: This is the final stage at which we check the solution obtained in the fourth pass for consistency.

Let us go through these stages with the problem at hand. During the first pass, we read the problem and see that it has something to do with hockey sticks and hockey pucks and the price of two pucks. Note we have been thrown a curve ball here in that we are asked to state the price of two pucks not one. Keep this in mind for the end of the problem.

Now during the second pass, we notice that indeed we are dealing with the sport of hockey, that we are limited to the two pieces of equipment, pucks and sticks, and that we are given the prices for certain combinations of the two, and that we are asked specifically for the price of two pucks.

At the third pass, we start to create the initial mathematics. We have that 5 sticks and 3 pucks cost $23. We also know that 5 sticks and 1 puck cost $20. At this point, we should even take a guess at some numbers that might work just to make sure we have a good feel for the problem. For example, you may guess that a stick might be $4 and a puck $1. Then 5 sticks and 3 pucks would cost $23 so this seems like a good choice. However, those values do not satisfy the second condition, that of 5 sticks and 1 puck costing $20. Remember the final values have to satisfy both conditions in order to be the correct ones. But at least we are in the ballpark with our initial guess.

In our fourth pass, we choose letters to represent our items in the problem, and we then put our equations together. Since we are dealing with pucks and sticks, a good choice of letters would be S for stick and P for puck. Gee. Really? Okay, so now we have the following two equations:

5S + 3P = $23
5S + 1P = $20

Now you see that you are looking at a simple system of linear equations. You can solve by using the method of elimination. Thus if we subtract equation 2 from equation 1, we end up with 2P = $3, or by simple division, that P = $1.50. If we plug this value for P back into either equation 1, we get that S = $3.70. Now going back to what was asked for, the price of two pucks, we have 2x$1.50 = $3.00.

At the fifth pass, we should ask ourselves if our answer is reasonable. It seems that the cost of the stick should be more than that of the puck, even if the price of the stick seems a bit inexpensive. If we plug these values for S and P into equation 2, we get a check and thus we can feel comfortable that our solution is correct.

By using this simple step strategy, your children can confidently conquer word problems. No matter whether the problem involves hockey pucks and sticks, or giraffes and elephants, or whether the solution involves systems of equations or mixed rate problems. Reading critically, solving actively, and applying this five step process will insure impressive success in the oft regarded ghoulish realm of word problems. Goblins beware!

Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and is the creator and author of over a dozen books and ebooks which have been read throughout the world. He is a former teacher of high school and college mathematics and has recently returned as a professor of mathematics at a local community college in New Jersey.

Joe propagates his Wiz Kid Teaching Philosophy through his writings and lectures and loves to turn “math-haters” into “math-lovers.” See his website http://www.mathbyjoe.com for more information and for testimonials, and try out one of his ebooks here http://www.mathbyjoe.com/page/page/2924777.htm to achieve better grades in math.

Joe breaks down the process very well – eh? So simple that a child could do it!  (Well after a little coaching. 🙂 ) 

By the way, I found this article at ezinearticles .com. They have some very interesting reading on many different and varied topics.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you live here in the USA!

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Use Money To Help Learn Math

Math and money seem to go together, don’t they? After all, if you can’t count, how will you know what to give the cashier at the store? And how will you know if you’ve received the correct change?

Too often we short change our children (pun intended) by not giving them a good education about money. This article I found on GoArticles.com written by Stacy may help give you ideas on how to remedy the lack of proper education concerning money which we provide for our children. 

A Best Lesson You Can Teach To Your Child – Knowing About Money 

Many good lessons in life are learned as a child. Reading, writing, arithmetic are on the list that a child should learn, and personal finance isn’t included.

As an adult, you know that money is a part of your daily life. You use money to buy things that you and your family need and want, such as foods, paying rents or mortgage, clothes, taking vacation, or paying for any health care you and your children take. Teaching your kids about how to use money wisely and budgeting and making sound fiscal decisions are important and helpful in their future life.

You can start talking about money with your children as early as age 3. When you take them to the store and buy something, you can explain to them that you earn money so that you can buy things you want. You can also show them that while you are handing money to the sales (or to the machine sometimes), you’ll get something in return.

From toddlerhood through adulthood, you can show and teach them about the value of money and how to use it in their everyday life. Since using money will involves many skills such as saving, making choices, setting priorities, delaying gratification, sharing, interacting with others, and some math skills, it is much important for you to teach them whatever they want depending on his age and experience.

For example, you can give your children some pocket money to let them buy something on their own, and tell them what they can do with this money. Or you can also pick a day (a birthday, for example) to give your child an annual raise, so as to increase her responsibilities as you increase her allowance.

When your children is getting between 11 and 14 years old, you can start talking about long term goals, such as saving for college or a car. You may consider opening a saving account for your children and work with them to make deposits and keep track of savings as they grow.

Saving is an important part of learning how to manage money. It’s about telling your children to learn about how to plan, develop patience, and learn how to delay gratification to get what they want. For example, when you give your child an allowance, tell them that they can save some or all of the money, and decide when (once a month or so, for example) the saved money can be spent on something special.

Investments are also an important part in managing the money. Teach them about the correlation between risk and reward. Let your children know that risk can lead to large losses, and tell them about investing risk tolerance, and careful assessment of the risk. Show your children the way that they can use to search investments and come to decisions about those investments. Some good choices would be companies that your children are familiar with, such as Disney, or a favorite restaurant. Point out stories on the chosen investments and discuss impacts on the performance of the investments.

You can also tell them they can find a part-time job to get their own earnings when they are 16 to 18 years old. At this time, you can let your children to make investments all by themselves. When your child enters college, you can give him or her a credit card, and discuss with him or her how to use it responsibly. Determine together what expenses you will pay for and what he or she must pay for. If you want the card only be used in emergencies, make that clear.

Teaching your children about money can benefit them in both short and long term. Let your children help you determine how to teach them, rather than deciding all by yourself. Earning money, savings, and investments are all parts of financial planning. You should teach them all.

About the Author
Wearing the juicy couture tracksuit can show your fashion taste and good for your practicing. There are many juicy tracksuit styles in the outlet store for customers to choose. And many other products are available, such as juicy couture laptop case.

 So there you have it!  Another reason to help your child learn math!

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Learn Math for Christmas?

OK!

Well no, we’re not talking about waking up and finding a new math book under your Christmas tree!

But what we are talking about is the Christmas tree contest at the Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, NJ!

And we’d love it if you could stop by and check out our Christmas tree and place a vote for us in the ballot box! Please!?!

Here’s a quick preview of our tree. Excuse the slight out of focus-ness. I was in a hurry to get back to my tutoring at our Mathnasium Office in CHerry Hill!   😉

learn math christmas tree

Cherry Hill Mathnasium at Moorestown Mall

So please stop by and check out our tree and have a wonderful weekend!
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