Kiss those Math Headaches GOODBYE!

Archive for February, 2013

Reader Input on Slope Post


A longtime reader of Turtle Talk, Jeff LeMieux, of Oak Harbor, WA, sent in a suggestion based on today’s post on positive and negative slope. Jeff found a way to help students remember not only positive and negative slope, but also the infinite slope of vertical lines, and the 0 slope of horizontal lines … all using the letter “N.”

This is clearly a situation where the picture speaks more loudly than words, so I’ll just let Jeff’s submitted picture do the talking. By the way, to see this image even better, just double click it!

slopeclues

Slope Memory Trick

Thanks for putting this together and sharing it, Jeff!

Remember the Difference in LOOK between Positive and Negative Slope


Some ideas just slap you in the face.

I got slapped this morning as I was flying home from LA to Albuquerque. Those little cocktail napkins they hand out with “beverage service” often give me the urge to write. So this morning, nerdily enough, as I sipped my orange juice at 30,000 feet above the Salton Sea, I worked on figuring out a better way to help students grasp the difference in look between positive and negative slope.

That’s when I got “slapped.”

First, you must realize that I use the three-letter abbreviations of POS and NEG for positive and negative. Do some of you use these as well? I mention this because those abbreviations hold the key. You have to use the first letter of the NEG abbreviation and the last letter of the POS abbreviation.

Let’s start with NEG.

The first letter of NEG is, of course, “N.” But look what I noticed …

Visual Clue for Negative Slope

Visual Clue for Negative Slope

The trick for POS is a tad more complicated. But I’m hopeful it will work.

Visual Clue for Positive Slope

Visual Clue for Positive Slope

So what do you think? Will this work for your students?

If you test it out, please let me know what you find. I’m interested to know. Thanks!

SAT and ACT Preparation


Every once in a while I get a call like this:

“Hi, this is ____. My son is taking the SAT on Saturday. Can you, like, help him get ready for the test so he can score real high?”

SAT & ACT Prep

“Real high.” That’s what I wonder if the parent is.

I’ve been tutoring students to prepare them for the SAT and the ACT for many years now, and there’s one thing I’ve found to be true:  there is no shortcut to doing well.

While there are steps students can take to do better on these tests — including a few time-tested test-taking strategies — there is nothing I can do as a tutor (or a test-prep coach) that substitutes for solid academics over a student’s entire school career, and a longterm approach to the high-stakes tests.

What I’d like to do in this post, then, is to sketch out a road map that will help parents take a longterm approach to the SAT or the ACT.

1st)  Simply ensure that your child has solid academics from 1st grade through 12th grade.

2nd)  Encourage your children to read a great deal. Read yourself to model the importance of reading.

3rd)  Have a lot of discussions with your children. Talk about intellectual issues, politics, science, math, literature, the news, etc.

4th)  Starting in 8th grade or around that time, find a list of 1,000 or so words that are on the SAT and the ACT and help your child learn 5 words a week. Use the words during discussions. Encourage your child to use his newly learned vocabulary. Help your child learn the nuances of the words. The best way to learn vocabulary is through hearing the words spoken correctly, and trying to use them yourself.

5th)  Starting in late 9th grade or early 10th grade, get your child a book on the ACT or on the SAT. Have your child start to take short practice tests. Help your child get familiarized with the tests.

6th)  Talk with your kids about the importance of these tests. Discuss how much good scores on the SAT or the ACT can open up doors to the best colleges and universities. Discuss the importance of scholarships and correlate high test scores with scholarship opportunities.

7th)  Toward the end of 10th grade, start to look for a good test-prep program. Or look for a tutor who can help your child start getting ready for these tests.

8th)  After your child has had experience taking some practice tests, sit down with your child and together set some goals for test scores. Make clear that the goals are being set just to give your child something to aim toward.

If you take these steps, your child will have a big head start toward doing well on the SAT or on the ACT. And you will never find yourself in the position of thinking that a couple of sessions before the test will “do the trick.”

 

Video

Why the LCM trick works


This video explains why the trick for finding the LCM works. Some people asked to explain the math behind the trick, so here it is.

Josh Rappaport is the author of the Algebra Survival Guide and Workbook, which comprise an award-winning program that makes algebra do-able! The books break algebraic concepts down into manageable chunks and provide instruction through a captivating Q&A format. Josh also is the author of PreAlgebra Blastoff!, which presents an engaging, hands-on approach (plus 16-page color comic book) for learning the rules of integers. Josh’s line of unique, student-centered math-help books is published by Singing Turtle Press and can be found on Amazon.com

Video

How to Find Out if 2, 5 or 10 Divide Evenly Into Numbers — Divisibility by 2, 5, 10


Here are the tricks for divisibility by 2, 5 and 10.

 

Josh Rappaport is the author of five books on math, including the Parents Choice-award winning Algebra Survival Guide. If you like how Josh explains these problems, you’ll certainly  like the Algebra Survival Guide and companion Workbook, both of which are available on Amazon.com  Just click the links in the sidebar for more information! 

Video

Find the LCM — FAST!


Here’s a video that goes with a blog entry that many people have found helpful: Find the LCM — FAST! This trick can be a real time-saver, so feel free to pass this around.

Josh Rappaport is the author of the Algebra Survival Guide and Workbook, which comprise an award-winning program that makes algebra do-able! The books break algebraic concepts down into manageable chunks and provide instruction through a captivating Q&A format. Josh also is the author of PreAlgebra Blastoff!, which presents an engaging, hands-on approach (plus 16-page color comic book) for learning the rules of integers. Josh’s line of unique, student-centered math-help books is published by Singing Turtle Press and can be found on Amazon.com