Once students learn about negative numbers and absolute value, the concept of greater and less becomes a bit “cloudy.” What was once clear is now “muddied.” But there is an easy way for students to tell which of two numbers is greater and which is less. That method involves looking at the numbers on the number line and using a memory trick derived from the spelling of the words “greater” and “less.” Enjoy!

# Archive | Math in General

# Math in movies: Who says math isn’t cool?

Who says math is not “cool”? Check out this list of movies that prominently feature math content in the storyline? This should be enough to motivate many of our students who complain that math is not relevant to the “real world,” or who just feel that math is only for “nerds.”

# How to Decrease Mistakes in Algebra – Part 3

The double-slash helps students for a variety of reasons. This post explains some of the reasons why it works.

# Invisible Misunderstandings: Square roots of 2 and 3

There are large chunks of mathematical knowledge that we often assume students have down. In fact, they often lack that knowledge. A good example is this: most students I work with have virtually no sense as to the value of the square root of 2 or the square root of 3. This post offers a few suggestions on how to help students in this regard.

# Origins of the Coordinate Plane

One of the legends of math relates to the invention of the coordinate plane system. The legend states that Descartes was inspired to invent this system after watching a fly move around on the ceiling over his bed. This post tells the story and points out its relevance for modern math teachers.

# New Approaches to Help Students Overcome Math Struggles

The teaching technique of finding out and helping students learn the “baby steps” that make up the larger math processes is having success through an organization called “Jump Math.” Read about it on this post.

# “Algebra-for-All” Strategy, Good or Bad? Get the News

For more than a decade now, state education departments have been mandating that all students must pass Algebra 1 in order to graduate from high school. New studies are finally coming out on the effectiveness of this push. Read the referenced article to find out what the latest research has to say.

# Answer, Fun Math Problem

Here is the answer to an interesting problem: what provides a better fit, a square peg in a circular hole, or a circular peg in a square hole? We can use simple geometry to figure it out!

# FUN MATH PROBLEM — Circling the Square & Vice-Versa

Circle the Square or square the circle. Either way, it’s a fun math problem. Feel free to try it, share it, use it however you wish.

# How to Use Definitions in Geometry

Definitions are TWICE as useful as standard theorems in geometric proofs. This post explains why, showing that definitions are, in a certain sense, very much like “reversible coats.”