Amy B
  • Member for 6 years, 7 months
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How does a teacher come up with plausible wrong answers for multiple choice tests?
Accepted answer
43 votes

I freelance as an item writer, someone who writes questions for standardized tests. When making up alternate choices, I always have to justify my reasons for the "wrong answers" or distractors. Here ...

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Is Khan academy really good?
Accepted answer
22 votes

I taught gifted elementary students for over 25 years and feel my 4th-6th grade students benefited greatly from using Khan Academy with some direction from me. The first time I used Khan Academy was ...

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Tutoring a recalcitrant/awkward/exasperating student---special needs?
21 votes

This is a student who doesn't understand social cues. He only knows that if he is rude you keep trying. If acts disruptive, he will get the answer without working for it. As long as you reward him ...

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Dividing by zero
20 votes

In third grade we taught division using repeated subtraction. To divide 6 by 2, subtract 2 until you get to 0. 6-2=4, 4-2=2, 2-2=0. It took 3 steps so 6÷2=3. This can also be shown on a number ...

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What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?
18 votes

Consider these 5 problems: What is $ 35 \div 10 $ ? We are in the store and want to buy packages of party plates for a birthday party. The plates come in packages of 10. There will be 35 children ...

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Is there a virtue to learning how to compute by hand?
17 votes

I taught at the elementary and high school levels. At times we used calculators and at times we didn't. Students benefit from experience both ways. Students need to learn that calculators are only a ...

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Imbuing a six year old with a sense of mathematical wonder
17 votes

I remember being excited about the following at a young age. If you add consecutive numbers you get triangle numbers. Triangle numbers are fun. If you put two consecutive triangle numbers together ...

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Effects of early study of advanced books
15 votes

You asked for anecdotal evidence. I was a "gifted student". The school told me to teach myself 11th grade math (Trigonometry and Algebra 2) in 9th grade. I never formally learned algebra 1, but I ...

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What is a good method for drawing a Möbius band on the blackboard?
12 votes

I searched google images and found many nice renditions. Here one that you may prefer from this link (source: umich.edu) . I especially like that it shows the width of the paper and doesn't draw ...

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What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?
12 votes

Despite what the negative answers, there are elementary teachers who are good at math. I count myself among them. The problem is that there are a broad range of abilities and attitudes among those ...

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Why is absolute value difficult?
11 votes

My experience is that weak students latch onto absolute value of a number is always positive. They are fine working with constants. When you introduce a variable, it all falls apart. To these ...

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How to explain fractions to 7 year old kid
11 votes

Comparing fractions only works when the whole is the same size. Here's a few examples to get help the 7 year old understand what happens when things aren't the same size: 1/2 will be greater than 2/4 ...

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A student is cheating and I don't know how
11 votes

Do you give full credit for answers without clear work?? If you don't then I suggest you give partial credit and meet with the student in the guise of helping him write his work more clearly so that ...

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Misuse of parentheses for multiplication
11 votes

This problem starts in elementary school. In fact, I am one of the elementary school teachers that has started students along this path that you complain about. I have taught my 5th and 6th grade ...

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What on earth was Old Math?
Accepted answer
11 votes

New math was introduced in the US in the 1960s. Before it was introduced, math was taught very algorithmically with little emphasis on understanding. Student were taught a method to do an arithmetic ...

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Analyzing an answer to the following problem: Give meaning to $\frac{4}{5} + \frac{2}{3}$
Accepted answer
9 votes

The student who designed this problem wasn't thinking about the different wholes. IN your students problem, there are 3 different wholes. Anna's flowers - The whole is 5 flowers and $\frac{4}{5}$ are ...

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Math Education for Students who use Right-to-Left Written Languages
9 votes

I have some personal experience. I taught in a school that has Israeli students whose families had moved to the US. These children had Hebrew as their native language. Hebrew is written right to left. ...

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Concrete way to teach addition and subtraction of fractions
9 votes

Use a piece of paper as your whole. To teach $3/2 + 4/3$ do the following. Give each child/group of children 6 pieces of paper. One piece of paper should be left as a whole - the students can ...

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How to teach "after-before" of numbers to a $5$ year old?
9 votes

It would seem you are being overly ambitious. According to this link at PBS: Some children at the beginning of this year are still learning how to verbally count by ones up to "ten." The average ...

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How to train facility with numbers?
8 votes

If he won't practice on his own, then I suggest the following. At the beginning of each tutoring session, give him a blank 10 by 10 times table and have him fill it in. He can then refer to it while ...

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Seeking Concise Article on Motivations for and Benefits of Standards-Based Grading
8 votes

From ACSD, Seven Reasons for Standards Based Grading -Educational Leadership This article explains what SBG is and why it is beneficial. It is written in a way that parents can relate to. Some of ...

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What is the rationale for distinguishing between proper and improper fractions?
7 votes

Student are introduced to fractions as part of a whole. They are then taught that improper fractions can be more than a whole - this is not ideal terminology or helpful for understanding. Improper ...

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Could schools jump straight into teaching real numbers first then teaching fractions later?
Accepted answer
7 votes

I appreciate you raising the question of improving the teaching of fractions which is certainly needed. I don't feel optimistic about your suggestion. I taught gifted elementary math students for ...

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How to teach a student algebra who misses too much previous knowledge?
7 votes

It seems he has a lot of gaps. It would be good to teach him each gap separately. For example, don't expect to teach him about adding negative numbers and identifying like terms by exponents at the ...

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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English
7 votes

Angle - Formed by 2 rays joined at a vertex, vs. a viewpoint, vs. tilt Yard -A unit of measure equal to 3 feet vs the grassy area around a house Constant - A number that doesn't change (not a ...

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How to teach brackets?
7 votes

I teach the students to use parentheses only. They are widely acceptable and it is what I prefer to use. One argument against brackets is that some students find it hard to remember how to draw ...

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What's the common word for equations and inequalities?
6 votes

I taught 1st through 5th graders from 1990 - 2015 and we used the term: number sentence. Students were very comfortable with this phrase. Added on Oct 15, 2020: I am currently writing questions for ...

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Math activities for fast-finishers
6 votes

I taught gifted students and had many fast finishers. Here are some of things we did (most require no preparation on your part but some require resources that you may not have): I kept a supply of ...

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request for evidence about class perspectives in math word problems
6 votes

I only have anecdotal evidence but since you said it was welcome, I am adding my 2 cents from both the perspective of a teacher and an item writer, hired to write questions for standardized tests. ...

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Soft questions for 8 - 12 year olds
6 votes

Here are some of my favorites: A man is given 3 pills and told to take them every half hour starting at 9 AM. When will he finish? (He'll finish at 10 AM and not at 10:30) What number comes after ...

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