Algebra Lessons with my 8th Grade Daugther

September 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment


I have been reflecting on what to write in my MANGO Math Blog for some time, what could I write about with regards to mathematics that would be interesting.  For over a year now I have been posting math questions via Facebook but I couldn’t quite figure out what I should blog.  But then last night I was watching the movie Julie and Julia and my daughter came in and asked for help on her Algebra.  We sat down and worked on multiplying and dividing fractions.  I realized quickly that this is going to be our start into a new journey.

My oldest daughter breezed through Algebra, Geometry and is now into Trig. (Algebra 2) with almost no help from either of her parents.  She gets it, that could come naturally or it could be that she has had more math proficient teachers.  My middle daughter on the other hand came home the first day with homework and called me over asking for help.  I quickly realized, first and foremost before starting any homework, make sure the child is well fed and rested, as she was neither and was in tears within the first 5 minutes of us working together.

Once we got going with the homework of multiplying and dividing fractions, I realized that we should have spent some time over the summer review our math facts.  Her multiplication facts didn’t come quickly to mind.  So we spent a little time refreshing the multiples of 7 and 8.  Then we talked about divisibility.  If a number is even then it is automatically divisible by 2.  If the digits add up to 3, 6, or 9 it is divisible by 3, if the number ends in a 0 it is divisible by 5 and 10, if the digits add up to 9 it is divisible by 9.  If the numbers are even and add up to 3, 6, or 9 the number is divisible by 6.  These quick checks of divisibility makes it easy to reduce the fraction down to its simplest form.

After having done a few problems I realized that she had no idea why she was to use the reciprocal of the fraction in order to divide the fraction.  She just knew that was the process she was to go through, when dividing reverse the fraction and then multiply. She had no knowledge of what that meant.  I found this website to help visually explain the process.

http://www.cs.gmu.edu/cne/modules/dau/algebra/fractions/frac4_bdy.html

This seemed to help a bit but I will continue to do what I can to help her on this algebraic journey.

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