How to Solve Math Problems

Update

Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2
I’ve expanded this blog post into a 16-page booklet. You can get your free copy here, along with some writing tips for young authors-in-training:

That’s a Tough One!

What can you do when you are stumped? Too many students sit and stare at the page, waiting for inspiration to strike — and when the solution doesn’t crack their heads open and step out, fully formed, they complain: “Math is too hard!”

So this year I have given my Math Club students a couple of mini-posters to put up on the wall above their desk, or wherever they do their math homework. The first gives four questions to ask yourself as you think through a math problem, and the second is a list of problem-solving strategies.

Continue reading How to Solve Math Problems

What Do We Mean by “Assume”?

Almost all math problems call for the student to assume one thing or another. Without assumptions — definitions, postulates, axioms, common notions, or whatever you want to call them — mathematics of any kind is impossible. Tony at Pencils Down (who plans to be a math teacher when he grows up) reminds us that, necessary though it may be, we are stepping on dangerous ground when we assume:

Random Samples: Making an Ass of You and Me

Continue reading What Do We Mean by “Assume”?

Quotations XVI: Back to the Blackboard

Classes are back in session at our homeschool co-op, so I am again collecting short quotes for the blackboard. Here are the ones I used in September:

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

Albert Einstein

Life without geometry is pointless.

Anonymous

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.

Marvin Minsky


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Blog Carnivals = Browsing Pleasure

Blog carnival graphic 4

92nd Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Education

Charlotte Mason Carnival: Music/Composer Study

94th Festival of Frugality

2007 Homeschool Blog Awards button

And the Homeschool Blog Awards site is gearing up for this year’s program, for anyone who reads homeschooling blogs — and that’s all of us, right?


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Ben Franklin Math: Elementary Problem Solving 3rd Grade

The ability to solve word problems ranks high on any math teacher’s list of goals. How can I teach my students to solve math problems? I must help them develop the ability to translate “real world” situations into mathematical language.

In two previous posts, I introduced the problem-solving tools algebra and bar diagrams. These tools help our students organize the information in a word problem and translate it into a mathematical calculation.

Working Math Problems with Poor Richard

This time I will demonstrate these problem-solving tools in action with a series of 3rd-grade problems based on the Singapore Primary Math series, level 3A. For your reading pleasure, I have translated the problems into the universe of a well-written biography of Ben Franklin, Poor Richard by James Daugherty.

Continue reading Ben Franklin Math: Elementary Problem Solving 3rd Grade