Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Problem with Word Problems Word problems are hard. Word problems are confusing. Kids hate word problems. Why? A student’s first experience with word problems is often overwhelming. They are used to seeing straightforward problems such as “3 + 8 = ?” or “121 ÷ 11 = ?”. Then we throw long-winded sentences at them […]

Fractions Often Elicit Fear Ask a random adult what area of math they find most difficult, and they are very likely to say, “fractions.” They were never comfortable with fractions as kids, and this discomfort followed them into adulthood. The pattern continues with many of today’s kids. I’ll never forget the day that my (then) […]

Math Storybooks If you’re looking for a creative project that involves math, here’s an idea. One of the little girls in my Saturday math group enjoys writing stories. So this past weekend, we decided to write our own math story. Our plan is to work on it for 10 or 15 minutes every week, until […]

Mnemonics Can Be Good … or Not The use of mnemonics dates back at least to the time of Plato and Aristotle, and some people seem to think they have outlived their usefulness. While there is the potential for overuse, and they should never take the place of teaching conceptual understanding, a good mnemonic can […]

M&M Math

Candy is a Great Incentive In my experience there are two things that will get the attention of even the most bored student: money and candy. The only time I bring money to a tutoring session is when I’m planning to teach how to count money. And all of it returns home with me. Candy […]