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Algebra Lessons with my 8th Grade Daugther

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.

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


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

Olympic Gold

Figure out how many gold medals Germany, Great Britain, China, Italy, France, Russia, and Canada received.

1. If France won two more gold medals, they would have won the same number of gold medals as Italy.

2. Germany won five times as many gold medals as Canada.

3. Great Britain won ten more gold medals than one-half the number of gold medals won by Canada.

4. The seven countries won a total of fifty-one gold medals.

5. China has two more gold medals than Russia.

6. If Italy had won two more than two times the number of gold medals, they would have won nineteen more gold medals than China.

February 17, 2010 at 10:34 am Leave a comment


Here is a great game to play with students grades 4 up to grade 8.  It is called Quatro.  I will give you a target number from 0 – 20.  You are to reach this number by writing an equation with just 4s.  You can only use four 4s in your equation.  You may use any operations (+, -, x, /), decimals, and/or parentheses. 

First target number is 3.

February 5, 2010 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

daily #elementary #math activity for 2/2/2010

Last night I made a 9 x 12 pan of chocolate chip cookies. I cut the cookies into 3″ squares. How many pans of cookies would I have to bake if i laid the cookies out end to end in a single file that stretched for a mile?

February 2, 2010 at 9:27 am Leave a comment

Daily math problem for 2/1/2010

#math #homeschool. What comes next in this pattern? Apple, apple, pear, pear, apple, apple, banana, pear, apple, apple, pear, pear, apple, apple, banana, pear, apple, apple, pear, pear, apple, apple.

February 1, 2010 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

Oldies but Goodies

Growing up I remember watch School House Rock in between my favorite cartoons.  And today I can still sing most of the songs.  I would love to see these songs resurrected and helping kids learn their math facts.  “Three is the Magic Number” with the reciting of the multiples of 3 up to 10 and back down to 1 is a great skill for any first and second grader to have down.   So with the help of You Tube, start singing along. 

January 29, 2010 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

Girls and math

The University of Chicago researched math anxiety in young girls and found that female teachers may affect the way young girls view math.  If  female teachers can change a girls view on math, what affect does a mother’s math anxiety have on their daughters. 

Here is another article from the University of Michigan on a study of girls continuing on in math based career and the influence a father has on their choices. 

January 26, 2010 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

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