Maria's Math News, September 2014

Learn how to help a student who is behind, learn about number talks, read my review of a geometry course, and more!


There is lots to read in this newsletter — I recommend you check out each item below, but especially the NUMBER TALKS, as I feel they are a really useful tool for building number sense! smile

1. Math Mammoth news

2. Updated: How to help a student who is behind in math (grades 4-8)

3. Updated: Review of Geometry, Guided Inquiry (grade 10)

4. Number Talks (grades 1-12)

5. Active Mathematics for Homeschooling Families (grades 1-6)

6. Mathlathon (grades 3-10)



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cover for Math Mammoth Grade 7-A Complete Worktext

1. Math Mammoth news

Math Mammoth Grade 7-A (the first part of grade 7) is now available as a download! This (when completed) is a full-fledged pre-algebra course.

See the contents & sample pages at this link!

Grade 7 — more information →

Learn math using our on-line, self-paced, multimedia math lessons. Our lessons are absolutely FREE with no sign-up.

Our math lessons are taught by a certified math teacher. Lessons have step-by-step instruction that include problem solving strategies, “Try These” problems to check understanding, and worksheets that have step-by-step (not just the answers) answer keys. All of this at no charge.

Go to Mathematics Lessons to see a list of our lessons, lesson objectives, see what we are about, and watch video math lessons.

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

I've updated my article where I discuss some general principles in helping students that are behind in math:
  1. Test and assess
  2. Make a list of topics to study
  3. Perhaps go back to the very beginning?
  4. Restudying some topics while using a math curriculum
  5. The order of topics
  6. Should you go on with new concepts or not?
I hope it is of help!

How to help a student who is behind→

3. Updated: Review of Geometry, Guided Inquiry

I've updated my review of a "combo" package for high school geometry, consisting of two different products:
  1. Geometry: A Guided Inquiry (textbook);
  2. Home Study Companion: Geometry by David Chandler which consists of video lessons, solutions, and Geogebra demonstrations.
The interactive demonstrations in the Home Study Companion used to be done with Geometer's Sketchpad, but Chandler updated the product so that now it uses Geogebra, which is a free dynamic geometry softare.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

Geometry: A Guided Inquiry is a problem-centered textbook. Each chapter starts with a central problem, which acts as a starting point for developing important concepts and theorems.

The text reads like a "worktext": many of the problems are an inseparable part of the overall instruction, because they will lead the student in a step-by-step manner to important theorems and results.


Home Study Companion: Geometry (HSC) by David Chandler really makes the textbook Geometry: A Guided Inquiry a home run for homeschoolers, because it provides complete, worked-out solutions (not just answers) to all the problems in the Central (the main worktext) and Project sections of the textbook. The book itself contains answers to its various review and self-test sections, yet Chandler includes complete solutions on video to all of the Review sections, which allow the student to see the complete problem solving process of the problems. With the Home Study Companion, you will always have help available should you get stuck while doing the problems or the projects from the textbook.

Not only that, but the Home Study Companion includes hundreds of interactive demonstrations using Geogebra, which is a free dynamic geometry software. These demonstrations cover most of the main concepts and many additional explorations of the Central and Projects sections of each chapter. Accompanying each demonstration (or cluster of demonstrations) is an activity guide (PDF file) that will help you get the most out of the Geogebra explorations and teach you how to use Geogebra as a tool on your own as well.

This review is quite comprehensive, so read the rest of it here.

Review of Geometry, A Guided Inquiry→

4. Number Talks

What are "number talks"?

They are short discussions among teacher & students about how to solve a particular mental math problem. The focus is not on the correct answer, but on all the possible methods of finding the answer. Each student has a change to explain their method, and everyone else will learn from other people's methods!

Try it yourself! How would you solve 5 × 18 in your head?

Jo Boaler has made a really good introductory video where you can learn the basics of number talks. So please watch it!

Number talks is a really neat concept. Students can see that there are MANY ways of seeing the problem and finding the answer. It also helps students to communicate about mathematics — a very important skill — and to become more confident in class.

In fact, number talks are a great way to help students to overcome a fear of presenting their solutions to others, because the tasks are short and relatively easy (the teacher of course needs to adjust the mental math problem to the students' level).

So please watch the video. Here's another resource for number talks ("number strings"):

Watch Jo's video →

5. Active Mathematics for Homeschooling Families

Active Mathematics for Homeschooling Families is a FREE online course where you will create, investigate and discover math.

The most important goals of the course are that participants:
  • Overcome fear of math, and discover a new approach to mathematics based on concrete materials, own investigations, and games.
  • Become capable of designing and realizing practical mathematical activities with their children.
  • Acquire an understanding of the mental development of children, in order to design their activities accordingly.
  • Begin to practice mathematical thinking, together with their families.

I'm sure this is a worthwhile course about mathematical thinking & discovery! Note it starts in September, so hurry!

Active Mathematics for Homeschooling Families →

6. Mathathlon

Mathlathon is a new monthly online math contest for students in grades 3-10. It is free if you have a subscription to Math Buddy; otherwise it costs $9.99 a year. But there are 12 contest in a year, so it's less than a dollar per contest.

I checked the free sample contest for grade 6, and I liked it really well! Good questions!

  • New contest every month with 20 questions across topics for each grade
  • Questions designed to foster intuition and problem solving skills
  • Contest open to students from 1st to 15th of every month
  • Students can login from their homes and participate
  • Results and reports available on the website between 21st and 30th of every month
  • Trophies to the top 3 students in each grade. Medals to school toppers
  • Certificate of achievement to top 100 students in each grade
  • Participation certificates to all enrolled students

Check out Mathlathon →

That's it for this newsletter! I hope you found something beneficial. smile

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Till next time,
Maria Miller
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