Tag: Algebra

Learn Algebra The Right Way

Learning math and then algebra can be a difficult progression for many students in today’s public educational process. It should be a natural progression if done properly. I whole-heartedly agree with this article I found by Mr. VanNoy, where he gives a good explanation of how he believes children should be taught algebra. Check it out and see if it makes sense to you?

Embedding Algebra For Young Learners

My students have told me often that in the upper elementary school years, 4th or 5th grade, they started to learn Algebra. Usually, this memory evokes shudders of pain. Some explain that they never really “got the hang of Algebra”, and that it looks like “just a bunch of letters, numbers, and mixed-up rules” jumbled together. This has been a common discussion over the years with students who somehow got moved on from the comfortable levels of Arithmetic into the strange world of Algebra before they were really ready for it. How young is too young for us to teach our students algebraic concepts?

The answer — kids are never too young to learn algebra; they just need to be introduced to it in the right way, when they are ready. So, if it looks like algebra is next in your child’s curriculum list, what do you do?
This question is actually part of the problem . . . Algebra should not be handled as a separate unit at a certain time. It is actually best taught as an embedded idea as soon as children know how to count and can use elementary mathematical symbols. In short, if they can count, add and subtract, then they are ready.

Algebra quite simply is the study of arithmetic structure. . . So, how does the teacher introduce algebra concepts to the young student? Even at the youngest ages, our children can be ready for the following lesson sequence:

  • Build on the arithmetic strategies the student knows already. Introduce algebra ideas in a natural, comfortable way, linking from the natural, mathematical ideas of counting and basic numeric operations. Discuss money exchanges, adding and subtracting objects from piles and groups.
    “If I have $16 in my pocket and pay Shari, and I am left with $9, how much did I pay her?”
    “Jeff has three pieces of gum in one pocket and five in the other. How many altogether? If he has three in one pocket but eleven total, how many in this pocket . . .”
    “Jeff has three pieces in this pile, as you can see, but 12 in total. How many are in the pile I am covering?”
  • Make it interactive and fun. You want your student to be engaged and participate in the situations you present orally. Use “mystery numbers” and unknown numbers of pieces as the stand-ins for variables. Use funny sounds to represent the variables in a different order to create aural representations of equations. Let your kids make up their own examples and create funny sounds. Make it a hands-on experience whenever possible.
    “I am a number. When I add 6 more, I have 13. What number am I?”
    “15 plus (oooomff) makes 28. How much is (oooomff)”
    “(arrrrrrgh) groups of 8 makes 32. How many groups is (arrrrrrgh)?”
  • Introduce rules and properties in the student’s own language, and then move into the proper math vocabulary of “rules of equality”, “equal operations”, and “distributive property”.
    Use the concepts of fairness and balance. You want the concepts to be learned before students are required to label the procedures formally.

To start talking about the concept of variables and equations, the learning sequence is extremely important here. If the developmental stages are skipped, students will try to memorize procedures and the understanding is lost. Orally introduce situations where there is an unknown quantity or mystery number, then represent the variable a funny sound or gesture, then move on to written symbols. Avoid using letter variables until your students are ready. In summary, algebra is the study of the arithmetic structures of our world, and is a toolbox we use to solve problems. The abstract nature of variables and equations and properties can only be understood after a proper developmental sequence of hands-on and oral examples, moving into the symbolic realm, and then progressing into pencil and paper exercises. Make it fun and interactive; allow your students to create their own examples and tap into their own curiosity. Embed these ideas into their basic curriculum lessons, not as a separate unit. Students of algebra need to be able to see how variables and equations are used to do any type of problem solving, and are tools to unlock mysteries in the world of numbers and patterns.

By: Terry VanNoy


Terry VanNoy’s class sessions, Math with Mr. V are by appointment only . . . Call toll free 1-877-317-3317 to arrange a free consultation! Help your child feel more successful in his or her math classroom.

I like Mr VanNoy’s approach to teaching math and algebra. Too often the students are thrown into algebra without taking the time to know that they have a good general understanding of the concepts behind algebra. I hope this helps you when looking for a tutor to help your child learn algebra and math.

Visit our Mathnasium site  if you are in the Cherry Hill NJ area and are looking for some math help for your child.

Have a great day!

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Your Teen Can Learn Math

If you have a teenager at home this article is for you!

Teach Teens The Importance Of Math Every Day

Math can be a challenging subject for students, but it is vital for their futures. Statistics show that strong math skills can increase success after high school, regardless of teens’ career goals or plans for higher education.

While most teens believe math is important for achieving their career goals, a national survey by Texas Instruments has found that only half are planning to take additional math classes beyond their schools’ minimum requirements.

So how do parents convince their children to do more than the minimum in math?

Show Them They Use Math Every Day…Really

Teens already are using math in daily life, although they may not know it. Here are just a few examples:

• Figuring out how many more minutes you can talk on your cell phone this month without going over your contract? Divide X number of minutes by Y number of days left in the month, and you get how many minutes per day can be used. Welcome to Algebra 101.

• Buying a car? You will have to adjust the length of the loan and interest rates to find the monthly payment that will fit your budget. And don’t forget to figure in gas, maintenance and insurance.

• Driving your car? Estimating distances, judging acceleration rates and calculating how late you can sleep and still reach your class on time all require math skills.

If teens recognize how math can improve their lives outside of the classroom, they just might be more likely to challenge themselves in the classroom.

Require Four Years Of Math

Taking at least one math class every year in high school can increase the number of opportunities for teens, whether their plans lead to college or directly into the workforce.

Just consider these statistics from the United States Department of Education:

• High school students who complete math classes beyond Algebra 2, such as trigonometry or precalculus, are more likely to go to college-and earn their degrees twice as fast-as those with a less rigorous math education.

• People with strong math backgrounds are more likely to be employed and earn more, even if they have not gone to college.

Math skills are essential to success, regardless of the teen’s goals.

Demonstrate How Math Can Be Rewarding And Fun

Math is all around us and an exciting part of everyday life. Scientists use it to find cures for diseases, musicians use it to compose songs and entrepreneurs use it to manage their businesses.

Providing teens with ways to relate math to their lives and future career plans will help them to understand its importance.

One program that mixes entertainment with education is Texas Instruments’ We All Use Math Every Day™, which provides free classroom activities online that help students explore the math derived from the concepts highlighted in each episode of CBS’ “Numb3rs.” Developed by mathematicians and educators, the activities focus on high school level math. Thousands of educators are downloading the classroom activities on a weekly basis and more than 35,000 have signed up for the Teacher Kits, inspiring more than 4 million students to become more engaged and interested in math.

By: Stacey Moore

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Visit www.cbs.com/numb3rs to learn how your teen can benefit from the program and encourage your child’s math teacher to check out the activities as well. It is important for parents to engage their children in math and teach them the value of a strong math education. By working with teens to show how math is relevant every day, parents can help ensure their children’s personal and professional success.

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Square Roots and Negative Numbers

So who says math isn’t complex? And is learning math really a complex process?

The basic rule of multiplying 2 negative numbers yields a positive number makes it seem impossible to get a square root of a negative number, right?

Well here’s a funny video which will show you how to figure out the square root of a negative number.

Algebra 2 – Complex Numbers – part 1 of 3
Now… YAY MATH would like to introduce to you the imaginary number ” i ” ! Check out how we simplify expressions involving the square roots of negative numbers. YAY MATH! Visit www.yaymath.org Videos copyright (c) Yay Math


Very interesting, don’t you agree?

The concept is cool but remember, there is NO paper throwing or airplane flying at Mathnasium!  😉

Have a great day!




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