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Q&A #1618


Problems with addition and subtraction

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 01, 1999 at 22:20:23
Subject: Re: Problems with addition and subtraction

As a middle school teacher it seems amazing that young ones are tested and are thought to be slow when they are first learning their skills. I often see middle school students who are still having such trouble. It is not just with addition but with their multiplication tables, fractions, etc. I think if they just had had some time, and most importantly some individual time with someone who cared, they might not reach middle school with such problems. It is important to stay positive with your son! I think it is great that you are taking the time to work with him this summer. I think the time that you are able to give to him will be very valuable. Here are some ideas for you: I went to the Math Forum's Teacher Place and then went to the Elementary section: http://mathforum.org/teachers/elem/k-2/projects.html and one of the links pointed me to Aunty Math, which you can view here: http://www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org/aunty/ As I read through her current problem and some of the past problems it seemed like a great place where you and your son could visit to find stories involving numbers. This site seems particularly helpful because there is information for the parents or teachers, as well as problems for the students. The presentation is colorful and the letters are large. I can see this working easily even if the student was not ready yet to read. The parent could read it like a storybook and then talk about the problem and arrive at a solution. If those stories are too involved for your son at this point, you might just want to make some up yourself using household objects. The idea is to have your son "see" the concept and not just have to deal with it abstractly as a numeral. Once the number concept is understood, the numerals will have more meaning. Here are some interactive websites that your son might enjoy. Mad Minute http://www.staffnet.com/hbogucki/aemes/apps/mmm/mmm.htm You can set the parameters so that the problems that are generated are tailored to your son's needs. Automaths http://www.edbydesign.com/automath.html This is another java page to practice math online. Another idea is software that I use with my middle school students. It is called Math Stars (only available in the Macintosh platform) and it is shareware. Again you can easily set the parameters to give only addition problems, or subtraction problems as well. http://www.kidsdomain.com/down/mac/mathstars.html Another idea, from a suggestion that Claudia, another Teacher2Teacher Associate, wrote in another response, is to play card games with your son. She described: (1) Play dice or card games with him. Keep score. Let him decide who is winning. For example: roll two dice and have him add on. That means begin with the number of dots on one die and count on as in 5 + 3 more = 8. Take turns rolling and giving one point for the person who has the greater number. (2) Play "Battle" with cards. Use a deck of cards, remove all face cards, shuffle and cut. Each person has half of the deck. With the cards face down, each player turns up one card. The person who can call the sum of the two cards gets to keep both cards. The winner is the person who has most cards at the end of the game. A variation is to call the difference between the two cards. I hope some of those ideas are helpful. -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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