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Maria's Math News, Vol. 51, March 2011

CONCEPTUA FRACTIONS - Your child CAN learn fractions! Conceptua Fractions uses interactive visual models to build understanding in fractions. -Over 400 fractions activities with built-in support. -Flexible tools let you customize for your child. -Affordable pricing for homeschool families. Get started today with our Free Fractions Tools.

Hello again! Hope everyone is doing fine! This time I have some problem solving examples, and then all kinds of resources and interesting things I found in other people's postings on the Internet.

1. Math Mammoth news
2. Games
3. Seniors & juniors algebra word problem
4. A percentage problem and a video
5. Tidbits

1. Math Mammoth news

Someone asked me about pre-algebra, algebra 1, and Math Mammoth 6th grade.

"I am confused about what students should study between elementary (K-6) math and Algebra 1. Most elementary math programs end after grade 6, then their seems (to me) to be some sort of ambiguity until Algebra 1. Do I understand correctly that if a student masters the K-6 math concepts that the next step would be a year of Pre-Algebra, then on to Algebra I? So in other curricula what they would call 7th or 8th grade math would be the same material as "pre-algebra"? And specifically, when my children master the materials through 6th grade Math Mammoth that a year of Pre-Algebra would next, then on to Algebra 1?"

She is very correct. A student who has studied through Math Mammoth grade 6 can go on to prealgebra. Pre-algebra is sort of an "in-between" course that covers a lot of review (fractions, decimals, integers, percent), the basics of solving first-degree (linear) equations, the Pythagorean theorem, and a few other topics. SOME "mathy" students may even be able to go directly to algebra 1 after Math Mammoth 6. In some curricula, this "prealgebra" may be strewn out to two grades (grades 7 and 8).

Please see my recommendations for a pre-algebra program here.

Then, Homeschool Buyers Co-op is running a GROUP GUY on Math Mammoth bundle products. Only for homeschoolers. The discount will be 20%, 30%, or 40%, depending on how many people will take part in the sale, but in the past it's always hit the 40%. The group buy ends the last day of March. The payments are collected and products distributed only after it ends (in early April).

=> Math Mammoth Group Buy at the Co-op

2. Games

I just found several different games in the edition #35 of Math Teachers at Play (which has a great collection of math-related blogposts in its own merit, so go check it out).
  • Sally is sharing some adorable Pre-K counting and addition board games in the theme of princesses and kingdoms at Make Your Own Math Games - Fit for Royalty!

  • Here's a board game called Antiderivative Block to encourage students to (1) learn their derivative rules well (2) begin thinking about derivatives backwards, and (3) to learn to be careful not to mix up derivatives and antiderivatives.

  • Here's an Interactive monthly math calendar. Click on a month, then a day, and then it simply takes you to play some math game (suitable for ages 5-10). There's a different game for each day!

  • I thought some of you might get a kick out of this... As chess players know, the squares on a chess board are numbered using a1, a2, a3, b1, b2, b3, c1, etc. Well, this same notation is used for NOTES in music. And so someone came up with the idea of translating chess games into piano music.

MathRider, Free Trial

Master Math Facts The Fun and Intelligent Way

As reviewed in Maria's January Newsletter:
"Both of my girls liked the game really well. They played and played and had to be dragged away from the computer!"
  • Master not just the Times Tables, but Addition, Subtraction and Division as well
  • Provide a Solid Foundation for Higher Level Math
  • Build Your Child's Self-esteem

Click on this link to visit the MathRider site and download your Free Trial now

3. Seniors & juniors algebra word problem

Here's a word problem that someone sent me recently:
The total number of girls in the combined junior and senior classes is equal to the number of boys in those two classes. If the senior class has 400 students and the junior class has 300 students, and if the ratio of boys to girls in the senior class is 5:3, what is the ratio of boys to girls in junior class?
This problem gives a lot of information, and it sounds like it can be solved many different ways. But the first task is to notice what we are given and what we are asked.
  • We are asked about a ratio.
  • We're given one ratio, and all kinds of totals. There are boys and girls, senior and junior classes. In other words, there are four groups: senior boys, senior girls, junior boys and junior boys.
See the solutions (several)!

4. A percentage problem and a video

Can you help me solve this question?

Jayne is given £5 for her birthday.
She spends 30% of it.
How much of her birthday money does she spend?

And... Is my method correct for this question?

No, the asker's method is not correct. In fact, it looks to me like she is randomly doing operations with numbers...

To find 30% of something, a MENTAL MATH method I like is to first find 10% of that something.

Read more & see the video

5. Tidbits

  • Why I Hate the Definition of Trapezoids
    This is something WELL worth considering if you're teaching about quadrilaterals and trapezoids! Does a trapezoid have EXACTLY ONE pair of parallel sides, or AT LEAST ONE pair of parallel sides? John has a follow-up post here.
  • A Trick for Teaching Basic Trig
    This simple trick helps students remember what is adjacent and what is opposite side in a right triangle.
  • Silly graphs (GraphJam)
    I just got some good laughs reading the blogpost at SquareCircleZ about funny graphs from GraphJam. Go take a look! (The GraphJam site itself is not always family-friendly, but the blogpost I'm linking to is fine.)
  • What is zero to zeroth power?
    This is a good discussion about what is 00.

Till next time,
Maria Miller

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