3rd Grade Math Struggle
Date: 5 Jan 1995 18:27:52 -0500 From: Anonymous Subject: math Hi there. My daughter is in 3rd grade. Up until this year, math was her favorite subject. Even though she struggled with it, she enjoyed it, and we were happy with her consistent C grades. This year is awful- she can't seem to grasp the basics of subtraction, and is in a panic because she's getting F's in everything, even things she could do last year. As someone who loves math, what can you suggest for someone who used to love it, but is fast developing a phobia? Any kind of fun exercises she could do, books I could get, or even computer programs would be great. I'll try anything. Thanks for any help. HelenM1801.
Date: 6 Jan 1995 12:17:22 -0500 From: Anonymous Subject: Re: math Hi Helen, I only have a few suggestions ready off the top. I think cuisinaire rods and other manipulatives are fun and useful. Math Blaster is a reasonable piece of software. Family Math, run by folks at Berkeley, is a good program and has published a good curriculum: FAMILY MATH by Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, and Ruth Cossey. illustrated by Marilyn Hill. 1986. ISBN 0-9121511-06-0. Published by EQUALS Lawrence Hall of Science University of California Berkeley, CA 94720 Telephone numbers: (510) 642-1823 FAMILY MATH Program 642-1910 books 643-5757 fax I'm also going to pass along your question to one of our guest experts and we'll see what she has to say. This is a good question to pose on the k12.ed.math newsgroup, which you can access through AOL's Internet Center. -- steve ("chief of staff") __________ Date: 7 Jan 1995 17:06:01 -0500 From: Dr. Sydney Subject: Re: math Dear Helen, I thought I'd add a little to suggestions made by Steve. Perhaps your daughter would like some flash cards that you could play with at home? Maybe first you should go through addition and firm up the things she felt confident about last year. Then she can attack the subtraction problems with more confidence. More than anything, I feel it is of utmost importance to _encourage_ your daughter and let her know you know she can do it. I feel like many people have a math phobia because they were discouraged early on and told that they could not do math. Learning about neat things in math not necessarily relating to addition or subtraction might be interesting for your daughter, as well. A book called _The Joy of Mathematics_ written by Theoni Pappas describes lots of neat things in math like the relationship between math and music and the relations between math and nature. I'm not sure if the book would be too hard for your daughter (certainly many parts of it would be -- it was not intended for a 3rd grade audience) -- but I know a few parts might interest her. If this book doesn't work, I'm sure there are others that are written for a younger audience that your daughter might like. Math appears in so many different places...sometimes elementary schoolers don't realize that there is more to math than addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Anyway, I hope that helps a little. I know many people (including math majors) who struggled early on with concepts like subtraction but eventually came to love math. So, encourage her lots, and also, feel free to have her write us with any problems she might have. --Sydney, a "doctor" of math __________ Date: 7 Jan 1995 21:49:44 -0500 From: Dr. Sydney Subject: one more idea... Dear Helen, Hello again! I was just talking to my mother, and she had one more idea about how you might help your daughter with math. She suggested that you make flashcards and use them when playing games. For instance, you could play the game "Memory" also called "Concentration" with flashcards that say things like 2+3 or 8-4. Thus, you would be matching flashcards that both said 2+3 or something like this. When you matched the flashcards, you could say what the answer to the addition or subtraction problem is. There are also many variations you could do on this...you could let 2+3 and 8-3 be matching cards since they both equal 5 or something like that. Also, you could play ordinary games like Sorry! or Checkers by doing a flashcard with every move, or something like that. Anyway, good luck. I hope this helps! --Sydney
Date: 8 Jan 1995 17:13:44 -0500 From: Stephen Weimar Subject: Re: re 3rd Grade math fun! Steve Weimar forwarded your "Ask Dr. Math" question about resources for your daughter. Manipulatives and just using math in daily life are probably going to be the best in the long run.... In addition to the suggestions Steve gave (Family Math is a favorite of our 1st and 2nd Grade math teacher), on the book end of things you might want to take a look at the Little Brown Paperback series books such as _Math for Smarty Pants_, _The book of Think_, and _The I Hate Mathematics Book_. It's a great series with lots of ideas! A piece of software that I really like (and the kids at school really like, too) is Math Shop Jr. The scenario is that you are in a mall, waiting on customers in different stores --and, in each store you have to do different mathematical tasks. What stands out about this program, however, is that it really involves thinking/mathematical skills, too, not just computation/drill of facts. I don't have the publisher info here, but if you have any trouble getting it, let me know and I can round it up easily enough. --Good luck! Feel free to write back for more info. Jane Stavis Westtown School
Date: 28 Dec 1995 14:11 From: Jan Rigby Organization: Chevron Petroleum Technology Company Another suggestion... In 3rd grade she is between 8 and 10 years of age. If she is competitive, teach her to play darts. I'm a steel tip player involved in youth darts. If you are concerned about supervision and safety, soft tips (flexible nylon) are available. There are also variations in velcro, or you can make a version for yourself. Many parents have told me their children struggled with math until learning to play darts. Since darts is a game of multiplication, subtraction, and eye hand coordination it involves both mental and physical activity. If you would like more information about youth darts, please contact the ADO (American Dart Organization) at 714/254-0212 and ask Katie or Rich for information on youth darts. Or see CYBER/DARTS on the WEB. Of math interest, the numbers on the board are 1 thru 20 with doubles and triples, and the bulls (25 and 50). Since the game is played with 3 darts, the multiplication tables (x1 through x9) up through the number 9 x 20 (=180) can be practiced. Jan
Date: 28 Dec 1995 From: Anonymous Hi Jan - What a good suggestion! I'll add your letter to the listing in our Ask Dr. Math archives, along with some information on the rules of darts and a URL for those who want to look them up on the Web. Thanks very much! Here's an URL: http://www.infohwy.com/darts/basics/DARTSBASICS.HTML "Rules to the Darts Game of '01, (pronounced " Oh-One") The game of '01 is the classic game of Darts, played world-wide. The "01" refers to the fact that the game is played from a certain number of points, always ending in "01". For example, the common tournament game of 501 (pronounced "Five-Oh-One"), is played from 501 points. Other variations are 301, 601, 801, 1001. The higher point games are usually played by teams. The object of the game is simple... each player starts with the same score (501, for example) and the first to reduce his score to zero wins. Players take turns throwing three darts each and subtract all points scored from their own beginning score (501). Each player removes his darts and marks his score before the opponent throws. Darts that bounce off or miss the board do not score and cannot be rethrown that turn. The difficult part of the game lies in the finish, known as "going-out". To win, you must reach zero before your opponent, but you must also reach exactly zero, and the dart that brings the score down to zero must be a double. Doubles consist of the numbers in the outside narrow scoring band and the center (small) bullseye which counts as 50 points and is an actual double of the outer 25-point bull..." Another possibility for children who are not competitive is cribbage. Our family learned cribbage when a fifth grade math teacher assigned it to improve math skills. :-) -- "Dr." Sarah
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 95 11:52:00 PST From: Rigby, Jan - JLKN Hi Sarah, I've browsed the URL you listed. It's not an "official" page, rather, one created by an enthusiast and contains some information that is slightly inaccurate (though I applaud the enthusiasm of the creator). 301 and 501 are most often played. Besides the obvious difference of 200 points, 501 is called a straight start game. Any dart hitting within a scoring area starts the game. 301 is a double on game. One must hit a double before beginning to score. As one gets into the game more, there are strategies, percentage plays, what we call, wedges, transitions, lines (some geometry?) and all this must be learned to fully appreciate the game, though not necessarily to win . Like the games of "Chess", "Pente", or "Othello", the basics can be learned in a few minutes... but it can take a lifetime to master, and even the "masters" learn something each time they play. I'm still learning. Another good math "dart" game is "half-it", the rules and scoring are again available from the ADO. On a personal level, I've played darts for 20 yrs. I began playing professionally 13 yrs. ago. Played the "circuit" as a nationally ranked player for 6 yrs. I gave it up after a shoulder injury made travel and play difficult. I'm not a teacher by profession... I'm a graphic artist, and have used these skills to develop tools to teach darts and its finer points. A word of caution, My suggestion may have inspired the next world champion! Good thoughts, Jan
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