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Maria's Math News, Vol. 66, October 2012

I love teaching, and I love math. This newsletter is my way of reaching out and helping you to teach it, too.

Hands-On Equations® enables your
child, 8 years old and up, to learn to solve
algebraic equations such as 4x + 3 = 3x + 9
and 2(2x + 1) = x + 14 in only six lessons—while having fun!

The secret to this success is our unique visual and kinesthetic approach combined with a pedagogically sound sequential development of concepts. The Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is normally $79.95 and includes the DVD instructional manual and introductory verbal problems workbook. Order online with a credit card prior to midnight Pacific time on October 31, 2012, and receive a 10% discount on this or any other product on when you use the coupon code Maria Promo (discount does not apply to downloads).

Hello! This time, we look at students struggling in math, equivalent fractions, challenging word problems for middle school, and more.


1. Math Mammoth news
2. How to help a student who is behind in math
3. A resource for challenging problems for middle school
4. Equivalent fractions worksheets with pictures
5. Tidbits

1. Math Mammoth news

Math Mammoth Grade 4 aligned to the Common Core standards is coming soon—I expect by October 10! Stay tuned.

2. How to help a student who is behind in math

I've revised an older article of mine, in the which I discuss some general principles in helping students that are behind in math:

1. Test and assess
2. Line up the concepts or areas of study
3. Plan
4. Should you go on with new concepts or not?
5. Suggestion for review worktexts

1. Test and assess

If you have been the teacher, you probably have an idea of the student's weak areas, but knowing for sure is much better than guesswork. By testing you will be sure to catch ALL the areas that are weak. This is important since mathematics builds upon earlier concepts.

You can download ready-made assessment tests from a variety of sources:

Continue reading: How to help a student who is behind in math

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  • Daily practice assignments — Focused practice to improve speed and accuracy.
  • Spiral review assignments — Periodic and progressive mixed-reviews for retention.
  • Performance tracking & reports — Detailed reports, history, and analysis.

3. A resource for challenging problems for middle school

Want to do some problem solving? MathCounts Handbook for 2012-2013 not only includes information about their programs, but also creative and fun 300 problems to work! Answers are included as well.

You could use these problems as challenging word problems or for problem solving workouts, not only for grades 6-8, but I'm sure for high school as well, since they are (mostly) not your typical math book problems but require some thinking.

Here's a direct link to the Handbook:

If that doesn't work, go to the program's home page and scroll down to see the link to MathCounts Handbook.

4. Equivalent fractions worksheets with pictures

A recent addition to my site free worksheets for equivalent fractions with pie images (or not... they're optional).

There are five problem types to choose from:
  1. Two fractions are given with 2 empty pie images to color in (e.g. 3/5 = 6/10).
  2. There are 2 pie images that are already colored; the student writes both fractions.
  3. Two pie images are given, one colored in, one not; the student writes both fractions.
  4. There are 2 pie images to color, one fraction is given, one not (e.g. 4/5 = ____ / ____)
  5. Problems without any visual model; the student writes the missing numerator or denominator in one of the fractions (e.g. 2/3 = ____ /12).

These are meant for grades 3 and 4 in the Common Core standards.

5. Tidbits

Feel free to forward this issue to a friend/colleague! Subscribe here.

Till next time,
Maria Miller
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