Maria Miller Hello again and welcome to the February newsletter!

  1. Math Mammoth news
  2. A misconception about fraction multiplication (grades 4-6)
  3. Something for kindergarten (grades Pre-K)
  4. Secret codes and basic algebra (grades 8-12)
  5. The interactive multiplication course (grades 2-4)
  6. Just for fun!
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1. Math Mammoth news

Feedback from Greece! 😄
When our second daughter was in the fourth grade, we realized that she was not receiving good math lessons at school. So, I contacted my sister that was homeschooling her kids, and she recommended the Blue Series. We got on board and started from the third grade. We liked the material so much that all of our four kids studied the whole series. We believe that we should give our best for our kids to have all options in their future available, and we understood that if they would fail understanding math in early years, a lot of the options would be out of reach later on.

Now some years later, our oldest daughter is studding Architectural Engineering in the best university in Greece, and our second daughter in studding Aerospace Engineering abroad in a top 10 university in the world. Also, our first son is now preparing to take university entrance exams and he is looking for an engineering subject. The series are amazing, after the first couple of months that we had to "enforce" extracurricular study to our kids, they covered the material by themselves.

Thank you very much
John Vrakas

2. A misconception about fraction multiplication

Here you see a fairly common misconception concerning how to multiply a fraction and a whole number. How would you help a child or a student with this error?

Here are comments from some of my FB followers. Think for a bit though, before you read on!

Maybe ask how many wholes did you start with and how many did you end up with? Did the answer make sense? If they multiply they should have some wholes. (Maybe think of whole pies)
One of my kiddos is a very auditory learner. When she made mistakes like this with fractions, I would say things like:
Me: “4 times 2 apples is what?”
E: “8 apples.”
Me: “4 times 2 puppies is what?”
E: “8 puppies.”
Me: “4 times 2 thirds is what?”
E: “8 thirds…. Ohhhh!”
We have little foam circle fraction pieces from Dollar Tree, I'd probably set out a big pile of fraction pieces and say "Show me 2/3". And after they'd put out two thirds on the table and showed me then I'd say, "Okay, now show me that four times." And then we'd count up how many thirds we had altogether (8/3), and smoosh them together into two whole circles and a remainder of two thirds.
I would go back to multiplication as repeated addition and have the student write out 4 groups if 2/3 and possibly color on a model.
The 4 can't come play until he is in fraction form. So he must change into 4/1 before he is invited.
Maria: I personally would use pie images, or some visual models, and either draw or use physical manipulatives. I would make two thirds, and ask the child to draw/make that four times (four copies of it).

Interestingly, the wrong answer, 8/12, is equal to 2/3 — what the problem starts with. 😃 And that is because all that gets done in the "wrong" way is to multiply the fraction by 4/4 which is equal to 1.
This is how this topic is taught in Mammoth Introduction to Fractions and Mammoth Grade 4:

fraction pies and multiplication problems

3. Something for kindergarten

New at Math Mammoth Practice Zone: Sort by color, shape, or length — an online game for preschool & kindergarten

Also, our Mystery picture subtraction game is updated so that now, the number range can be very small, such as from 0-6, suitable for kindergarten. (Naturally, you can use much larger numbers in this game, if you'd like, so this game is suitable for up to 4th grade math.)

4. Secret codes and basic algebra

If you have students/children studying algebra or nearby, they might enjoy reading about this real-life application of simple algebra:

The Basic Algebra Behind Secret Codes and Space Communication

Whether you’re passing secret notes in class or downloading images from a space probe, Reed-Solomon codes offer an ingenious way to embed information and correct for errors.

Space exploration requires tremendous precision. When you’re landing a rover on Mars 70 million miles away from the nearest service station, you need to maximize efficiency and prepare for the unexpected. This applies to everything from spacecraft design to data transmission: Those messages returning to Earth as a steady stream of 0s and 1s are bound to contain some errors, so you need to be able to identify and correct them without wasting precious time and energy.

That’s where math comes in. Mathematicians have invented ingenious ways to transmit and store information. One surprisingly effective method uses Reed-Solomon codes, which are built on the same basic algebra that students learn in school. Let’s drop in on a math class to see how Reed-Solomon codes help transmit and secure information while correcting any costly errors that pop up.

4. The interactive multiplication course

My interactive multiplication course at TinyTap is now COMPLETE with all tables, up to the 12 times table!

interactive multiplication course

You will get access to 20 interactive lessons that contain videos and interactive exercises. Some lessons focus on a particular multiplication table, while others are for reinforcing earlier concepts and skills.

The lessons contain not only simple practice, but also word problems, puzzles, and other types of multiplication exercises.

The price for this NEW YEAR is $11.99 (expected to go up so act now!).

See an example lesson: The Multiplication Table of 5

5. Mamut Matematicas

These three books have been updated at
(Estos tres libros han sido actualizados en mi pagina If you have purchased any of these books in the past (digital version, since 2016), you can generate a new download link on this page:

Además, la página Mamut ahora contiene algunas actividades y juegos en línea:

6. Just for fun!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Till next time,
Maria Miller

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