I am making a wager that I can help ANYONE learn and deeply understand algebra. And I have a plan to do just that.
I’ve been tutoring algebra for a long time (oh, just a bit over 30 years now), and I have developed many tips and tricks for this subject area. Not only that, but I’ve seen pretty much every mistake you can imagine. And I’ve learned how to explain why each mistake is incorrect and to help folks view each situation correctly.
So in the spirit of the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty, I say:
“Give me your confused, your bewildered, your frustrated students, yearning to comprehend, the befuddled refuse of your overcrowded classrooms. Send these, the despondent ones, your so-called failures to me. I will lift my lantern of algebraic clarity unto their puzzled eyes!”
And in fact, I am offering a special, now through the end of March. I will tutor anyone who wants algebra tutoring for the special rate of just $40/hour (+ tax if you live in New Mexico). I tutor by Skype or FaceTime, so this offer is open to anyone worldwide.
Also, for anyone who takes me up on algebra tutoring and who does three or more sessions with me, you will get copies of my Algebra Survival Guide and Workbook at a 25% discount.
To set this up, just send an email to: josh@SingingTurtle.com or send a text to: 505.690.2351
Remember this offer ends on 3/31/2020, so take advantage of it now!
So, you’d think that combining a positive number and a negative number would be a fairly straightforward thing, huh?
Well, unfortunately, a lot of students think it’s easy. They think it’s too easy. They think there’s one simple rule that guides them to the very same kind of answer every time. And that’s exactly where they get into trouble.
The truth is that combining a positive and a negative number is a fairly complicated operation, and the sign of the answer is dependent on a nmber of factors.
This video reveals a common mistake students make when tackling these problems. it also shows the correct way to approach these problems, using the analogy of having money and owing money to make everything make sense.
So take a look and see if this explanation doesn’t end the confusion once and for all.
And don’t forget: there are practice problems at the end of the video. Do those to make sure you’ve grasped the concept.
How do you get math terms out of parentheses? And what happens to those terms when you remove the parentheses?
It seems like the process should be simple. But this issue often plagues students; they keep getting points off on tests, quizzes, homework assignments. What’s the deal?
The deal is that there’s a specific process you need to follow when taking terms out of parentheses, and what you do hinges on whether there’s a positive sign (+) or a negative sign (–) in front of the parentheses.
But not to worry. This video on this page settles the question once and for all. Not only that, but the video provides a story-based approach that you can teach (if you’re an instructor) or learn (if you’re a student) and remember (no matter who you are). Why? Because stories are FUN and MEMORABLE.
So kick back and relax (yes, it’s math, but you have a right to relax) and let the video show you how this process is done.
And in customary style, I present practice problems (along with the answers, too) at the end of the video so you can be sure you understand what you believe you understand.
Ever thought this after you got back a math test … ?
“Why did I do that? I used a rule where it doesn’t apply!”
Yep, that’s exactly what we’re looking at in Algebra Mistake #3, a case of “overgeneralizing.”
The situation we’re dealing with involves over-generalizing everyone’s “favorite” property, the distributive property!
How’s that? Well, you’re supposed to use the distributive property when a number multiplies terms inside parentheses.
But sometimes students get a little bit — shall we say — “carried away” — and use the distributive property principle in other situations, too. The results are a tad bit comic, if you’re the teacher, but not so funny if you’re the student and you’ve made the mistake 19 times on a test with 20 problems.
Anyhow, after you watch the following video you shouldn’t have to worry about this again because we’ll get the two wires in your mind untangled so you never make this mistake again. So just relax, watch and learn.
And oh yes, don’t forget that we’ve provided some practice problems at the end of the video to help you make sure you’ve got the concept nailed down.
Now that you’ve gotten a taste for the benefits of analyzing algebraic mistakes, it’s time to explore a second common mistake. This one is so common that nearly every student commits it at least once on the road to algebra success.
As you watch the video, notice how by thinking hard about two expressions, we can think this mistake through to its very root, thus discovering the core difference between two similar-looking algebraic expressions.
And along the road, we’ll learn a general strategy for decoding the meaning of algebraic expressions. What I like about this strategy is that you can use it to understand the meaning of pretty much any algebraic expression, and you’ll see that it’s not a hard thing to do. In fact, it just involves using numbers in a nifty way.
Best of all, students usually find this approach interesting, convincing and even a bit fun. So here goes, Common Algebra Mistake #2 …
Welcome, welcome, welcome to my series on COMMON ALGEBRA MISTAKES!
We’re going to have some fun spotting, analyzing, dissecting, exploring, explaining and fixing those COMMON ALGEBRA MISTAKES, the ones that drive students and teachers UP THE WALL!
I’ve had so much experience tutoring that I find these mistakes fascinating, and I intend to share my (ok, bizarre) fascination in this series of videos.
Also, be aware that I’m very much OPEN to suggestions from you folks on mistakes that you’d like me to explore. I highly value the experience and wisdom of you students and educators, and I want to do all I can to work with you to un-earth the mistakes of algebra, and bring them to the light of day so we can find ways to stay out of their way!
Here’s the first video on these mesmerizing mistakes. Could any mistake be more classic than this very one? I doubt it. But watch the video and form your own opinion …
Includes new 62-page chapter on Advanced Word Problems
Comic-style math book teaches how integers work.
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At Singing Turtle Press, we believe everyone should succeed at math, no matter how math phobic, no matter how right-brained, no matter what. Our products help students K-12 and beyond, including English language learners, and adults returning to college.
Visit Josh's new blog at http://www.algebrawizard.com/blog/