View Full Version : Ideas for Maths please please


SquarePeg
02-28-13, 03:50 AM
My sonīs maths teacher rang me last night at home to talk about my son. I had asked all teachers to write a brief note about his progress because his pdoc likes to check his progress, which I think is great.

The teacher said that my son sits at the front of the class, is able to understand and do the exercises, but the next day will make errors. His main problem at the moment is formulas for equations. He continually makes the same errors. However if the teacher sits with him or my son does an equation on the blackboard in front of the class he manages very well.

Left to his own devices he just canīt remember how to do them. His teacher has spoken to my sonīs maths teacher from the previous year and he said more or less the same, he can understand and complete the exercises but not "learn".

My son failed maths last year, he is 14 so has extra classes one evening per week provided by the school so that he can retake his exam. He is just scraping by.

He also has extra maths during school time instead of French, plus extra maths and other subjects with a private tutor.

The teacher said he isnīt the only student who struggles but he is at a loss as to how to help him.

He has problems with other subjects but Iīm singling out maths because he has the most help with this.

Any ideas on how he can remember formulas. He had no problems during primary school with numbers.

thanks

sarahsweets
02-28-13, 06:58 AM
Have you ever looked into him possibly having dyscalcula?

Abi
02-28-13, 08:37 AM
what "formulas" exactly does a 14 year old (grade 9?) have to remember? :confused:

zette93
02-28-13, 09:37 AM
Some people just can't remember forumlas, period. Would a reasonable accomodation be to have a sheet of the formulas during tests, and to prove that he understands the concepts by choosing the right one to use applying them correctly? (My university physics class worked this way.)

SquarePeg
02-28-13, 12:06 PM
what "formulas" exactly does a 14 year old (grade 9?) have to remember? :confused:
These are for 12-13 year olds as he has repeated a year.
I canīt help because I had totally quit school by this age (ADHD)
Is this normal maths for this age group?

1http://www.vitutor.org/ecuaciones/2/images/2.gif
2http://www.vitutor.org/ecuaciones/2/images/8.gif
3http://www.vitutor.org/ecuaciones/2/images/4.gif
4http://www.vitutor.org/ecuaciones/2/images/29.gif
5http://www.vitutor.org/ecuaciones/2/images/31.gif
6http://www.vitutor.com/ecuaciones/2/images/60.gif
7http://www.vitutor.com/ecuaciones/2/images/59.gif
8x<sup>2</sup> + (7 − x)<sup>2</sup> = 25
97x<sup>2</sup> + 21x − 28 = 0
10−x<sup>2</sup> + 4x − 7 = 0
11http://www.vitutor.com/ecuaciones/2/images/96.gif

Abi
02-28-13, 12:09 PM
Yes. Thats typical Grade 9 - 10 work.

Those are equations to be solved.

Not formulas to be memorised :)

dvdnvwls
02-28-13, 01:42 PM
This type of thing is not about remembering. It's about understanding how the equations work. If a student looks at it from a "remember" point of view, he will be constantly confused with every new question.

If you and he are getting along well, you could ask him to teach you how to do it. (If he's in the mood to resist you, then of course don't bother.) Teaching someone else has often clarified this kind of thing for me.

SquarePeg
02-28-13, 02:52 PM
This type of thing is not about remembering. It's about understanding how the equations work. If a student looks at it from a "remember" point of view, he will be constantly confused with every new question.

If you and he are getting along well, you could ask him to teach you how to do it. (If he's in the mood to resist you, then of course don't bother.) Teaching someone else has often clarified this kind of thing for me.

Good idea yes he does find when he tells me something he has learned, he remembers it better.
I need to be in the mood otherwise I wonīt understand it!! I think I need to find a website where it explains how maths is used in real life rather than just numbers on paper.

crystal8080
02-28-13, 02:56 PM
Hard to know how to help unless we know what the errors are he is making. Is he doing it in the wrong order? I agree with math the key is understanding the concepts instead of just remembering.

So many people say they don't use algebra...well I do. The most valuable thing I ever learned was how to make a problem into an algebraic equation.

Can't do it in my head, but I write it down.

eg. What is 23 percent of 460?

Change "what" to "X". Change "is" to "=". Change "of" to "*" (multiply)

X= 23% * 460
X= .23 * 460
X= 105.8

maybe trying to do this will help wrap his head around the ideas. knowing what and why right? why do we multiply the numbers? why are we using letters in math anyway?

then remembering the order of operations and BEDMAS as we use here (not sure if that is a universal concept or not) , isolating the variable, and balancing the equation (if you do it to one side you have to do it to the other side) I think if you can remember those 3 things I think that's all you need to remember.

BEDMAS
ISOLATING
BALANCE

Abi
02-28-13, 03:15 PM
I just realised, all the problems above are quadratic equations, so the famous forumla x = (-b +/- sqrt(b^2 - 4ac))/2a does in fact apply...

Tho they made us factorise the trinomials by trail and error when we were 14. They only taught us the formula in grade 11.

TygerSan
02-28-13, 03:27 PM
FWIW, I always had trouble with the factoring and the equation solving. *Not* because I didn't understand what to do, but because I have a hard time holding all the information I needed to hold in working memory in order to solve the equation correctly. . . and so I would make really dumb mistakes, drop minus signs and exponents, and come out with answers that were clearly wrong.

SquarePeg
02-28-13, 03:44 PM
FWIW, I always had trouble with the factoring and the equation solving. *Not* because I didn't understand what to do, but because I have a hard time holding all the information I needed to hold in working memory in order to solve the equation correctly. . . and so I would make really dumb mistakes, drop minus signs and exponents, and come out with answers that were clearly wrong.
He says he does understand but forgets. I think I am going to have to learn them so I can help him.
Dropping out of high school at 13 wasnīt so much of a problem for nearly 20 years, however it has come to bite me severely on the butt, I know nothing.

Abi
02-28-13, 03:49 PM
If you can scan and email me some of his work ... stuff he's done right and wrong.. i'd get some idea of how his thought processes are working and give you some advice...

mommytriz
02-28-13, 04:54 PM
I have referred to the Khan Academy online for some explainations for my 6th grader. It has a very simple, kid friendly approach to it's lessons. Just google it and then search for the name of the math he is having trouble with. Usually they are fairly short concise video clips. Really helpful.

TygerSan
02-28-13, 05:38 PM
My DH is a mathematics teacher:

His response is that it seems as though your son is possibly memorizing a recipe and is unable to generalize.

The homework you showed seems to be basic factoring. Here's his response on how he'd teach this to his students:

Hey hon,

The way that I have taught this for the last five or ten years comes close to

http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=<wbr>M0n0RwG (http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=M0n0RwG)

except that she uses a little too much magic to come up with the 4x
and 4x -- (watch the video first, then come back and start reading
from this point again)

I'd stilll want to systematically list the things that multiply to make 16

1 * 16 = 16 --> 17

the arrow shows that if I add the numbers, I get 17

2*8 = 16 --> 10
3* doesn't work -- I'd cross this row out the first time that I teach
the concept, and skip this row after the first time that it comes up,
still saying out loud, there isn't an integer that three times that
number will give me sixteen.
4*4 = 16 --> 8 YAY! it worked.

Note that the terms in the "box" can be combined (combine like terms)
to come up with the original expression. It is helpful to know the box
method for multiplying binomials, which I refer to in my instruction
as the Punnett Square method for multiplying binomials (most adults
know it as FOIL, but FOIL only works for two terms x two terms, where
the "Punnett Square" generalizes to more difficult problems -- and in
my school system students are learning heredity about the same time in
science that they are doing this work in algebra.

If my last paragraph didn't make sense to someone on the forum, let me
know and I'll take a stab at explaining that part. It's a visual
method for multiplying things with variables (letters).

HTH :)
<3

SquarePeg
03-01-13, 05:53 AM
Thanks for all your answers, the links confuse me lol, I need to go back a level or two I think.

I have asked for a brief paragraph from each of his teachers regarding progress so I can show his p.doc. They all agree in general he is doing better in concentration, listening, not talking, working in class, homework but still has problems with most subjects.

I think one of the reasons may be that he has only been on meds since September last year and his knowledge of each subject was about the same as a child two years younger (this was the conclusion of his evaluation by an educational psychologist).

Therefore he is behind significantly (though loads of NTīs are equally behind) and canīt realistically be expected to catch up in six months. SO Iīm hoping that itīs not so much that he canīt grasp new concepts but rather that he has a lot of gaps, not only in maths but other areas.

He gets upset because his older sister started on concerta and it has been like a miracle in terms of her being able to keep up at school, it was like her brain had been switched on.


I will ask him to explain them to me, which will hopefully help him. I have heard this method works well in general. If you teach someone something you have been tought, it helps you remember it.

CanadaMom
03-02-13, 10:18 AM
I agree with the other posters who seem to think that his trouble is remembering the order of operations (what you may have called formulas).

I have just gone back to University after a 10 year break, and the only class I am worried about is math so I went to Khan Academy to see what level I could remember to do and I was basically at Grade 9 algebra :(. And I took all my math classes in High School and did fairly well in them too!

Anyways I could not solve the problems correctly because I didn't remember which part of the equation to do first, second, etc. So this is the acronym to remember it: PEMDAS
P= Parentheses
E= Exponents
M/D= Multiplication and Division
A/S= Addition and Subtraction

And here is a link to Khan Academy which is a site I have been using to refresh my math skills.
http://www.khanacademy.org/math/arithmetic/multiplication-division/order_of_operations/v/introduction-to-order-of-operations

crystal8080
03-02-13, 12:28 PM
I agree with the other posters who seem to think that his trouble is remembering the order of operations (what you may have called formulas).

I have just gone back to University after a 10 year break, and the only class I am worried about is math so I went to Khan Academy to see what level I could remember to do and I was basically at Grade 9 algebra :(. And I took all my math classes in High School and did fairly well in them too!

Anyways I could not solve the problems correctly because I didn't remember which part of the equation to do first, second, etc. So this is the acronym to remember it: PEMDAS
P= Parentheses
E= Exponents
M/D= Multiplication and Division
A/S= Addition and Subtraction

And here is a link to Khan Academy which is a site I have been using to refresh my math skills.
http://www.khanacademy.org/math/arithmetic/multiplication-division/order_of_operations/v/introduction-to-order-of-operations

That is what BEDMAS is.

Brackets
Exponents
Division
Multiplication
Addition
Subtraction