Archive | Using STORIES

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.

Common Algebra Mistake: Interpreting Negative Signs in Front of Parentheses

Tricky area of algebra: negative signs in front of parentheses. This explains how we can help students relate the concept to everyday life, and thereby grasp it so they remember it!

Dividing Fractions: from annoying to FUN!

Dividing fractions has always been an annoying process, with the need to re-copy the problem and use the reciprocal of the second fraction. Well, no more. With this student-friendly new approach, kids will start dividing fractions with fun, gusto, and accuracy. Check it out!

Make Combining Integers a Lively Story

Here’s a fun and easy way to teach one of the toughest concepts in all of PreAlgebra: the rule for combining integers with different signs. We turn it into a fun “tug-of-war” game. This entry gives you everything you need to teach it today!

Making Sense of Negative Signs

Solving equations can be extremely difficult for many students. This blog explores a certain kind of equation that gives students the “heeby-jeebies,” and it tells you how to help them find a way out of their confusion.

Place Value Metaphor

During the summer I get to tutor a lot of elementary age students, remediating them on the basics. Almost invariably I find that these students are confused about PLACE VALUE, and considering how critical this concept is to all of math, I decided to write this post. Whenever I have the least suspicion that a [...]