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Q&A #830


Teaching bases to middle school children

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 22, 1998 at 16:47:20
Subject: Re: Teaching bases to middle school children

Do you have access to any materials from Math - A Way of Thinking, or Math
Their Way?  These programs use different bases to help students think about
the process of regrouping without confusing the issues with the facts they
have partially memorized.

Another option is the chip trading games that are in some math kits. These
games use colored chips to represent place values. Yellow could be the
units place, and then blue, the units to the first power, and green the
squared-units place, and red the cubed units place. So if you were working in
base six, as soon as you got to 5 yellows, your next yellow would allow you
to trade in for a blue. Once you had 5 blues and 5 yellows, you could trade
in for a green, and once you had 5 greens, 5 blues and 5 yellows you could
trade in for a red, and so on.  Using a die, you can add or subtract to
practice adding on or taking away from what you started with.  You can start
with yellow and race up to a red, or start with a red and race back down to a
yellow.  You can change the base number to four, or two, or five, or ... up
to you.  This game will help students understand the process of regrouping.

 -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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