Q&A #289

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Making math seem less difficult

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From: Marielouise

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000062211:10:46
Subject: Re: 1st grader bored with math

When a first grade child is bored by mathematics, the child is
probably not being challenged by the work that is being asked.

Your idea of extension to larger numbers, such as two or three digit
number is a good idea.  You mentioned that she forgets to work at the
right and work left.   This tells me that she doesn't understand the
difference between  the 4 in 47 and the 4 in 14.  I would suggest that
you work with her to understand this difference.  Perhaps she can see
that 10 dried peas are equivalent to one twister and that 10 twisters
are equal to one rubber bands.  Then ask what kind of number is  7
peas and 4 twisters as well as the one twister and 4 dried peas.  She
should see that she puts the twisters together to 8 twisters and the
dried peas together to get 11 dried peas.  Since she can exchange 10
peas for a twister she now has 9 twisters and 1 dried pea!  It does
not help a child to learn algorithms such as adding two digit numbers
if the child does not understand what is meant.

Solving 7 + ? is 10  is ok for your age child.  Don't do complicated
"symbolic" algebra.

You mentioned fractions.  Recently another teacher working at this
suggested a favorite book of hers to work with fractions:

 "Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fraction Book."
It is written by Jerry Pallotta and Rob Bolster.
It was published by Scholastic, Inc. in 1999.ISBN # 0-439-13519-2.

Look for interesting activities that engage a child.  Mathematics is
fun because it is like a puzzle.

If you are in a teachers' store, look for materials by Marilyn Burns. 
A very popular book by her is:

I Hate Mathematics!   Of course, the kids in the book love
mathematics.  One of her questions that my kids loved was:  How many
shapes can you get when you slice a banana?   The answer is a circle,
an ellipse, a wide skinny ellipse, ???

Try to find the above books in a place such as Barnes & Nobel or

Have fun

 -Marielouise, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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