WeCanLearnAnything
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2 answers
8 votes
2k views
Teaching Math for Elementary Teachers
21 votes

I don't know where you're from, so I'll address this from a North American perspective. If you're thinking research-level mathematics is useful to learning how to deal with 5-year-olds, you might just ...

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4 answers
8 votes
2k views
Why do some students struggle so much with fractions?
18 votes

There are many reasons why fractions are so hard for students to learn. Mostly, they're taught gibberish and assessed according to such gibberish. Example 1 You are a 12-year-old student who has ...

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5 answers
8 votes
1k views
Don't these word problems seem designed to be confusing?
10 votes

I feel like I always post the same thing in these threads, but this again sounds like an issue of blocking vs interleaving. In this case, the textbook may have started interleaving different problems ...

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4 answers
14 votes
3k views
Confirmation bias in math education
10 votes

Is the teacher's confirmation bias a serious problem? Yes and this is not specific to math class. Example of Confirmation Bias in Assessment On Monday, the teacher thinks: "If my students have ...

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5 answers
19 votes
1k views
Teaching a student who refuses to learn
9 votes

This is how most students perceive math tests. Whether it's fair or not, this is the perception and it is the normal response to a broken math education system. Imagine you are a teenager and your ...

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2 answers
3 votes
160 views
More intermediate steps or check well-understanding
Accepted answer
8 votes

Part 1: Do they really understand? My first thought is that you are running into the limits of working memory. As students try hard to understand step 5, they are pushing previous thoughts about step ...

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3 answers
4 votes
411 views
Teaching math by serving it as games with rules first, not intuition?
8 votes

You may be overestimating how much students learn from symbolic rules. Most textbooks already teach symbolic rules first then put word problems last. This is backasswards. Most students succeed at ...

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4 answers
10 votes
1k views
Different Teaching Styles for Different Genders?
7 votes

I think the cognitive science is quite clear on this: Teachers should focus on learner similarities, not differences. Teaching to What Students Have in Common The corollary to the author's first "...

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4 answers
8 votes
2k views
Why do some students struggle so much with fractions?
Accepted answer
7 votes

As for research on fractions education... there's a TON. As for research on fractions education that rigorously measures cause and effect through randomized controlled experiments and long-term ...

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9 answers
11 votes
643 views
How to help students understand/remember that $x^2 = a$ has two solutions?
7 votes

Telling and explaining is really not enough. Working exclusively in square roots of numbers all but guarantees blocking vs interleaving problems and encourages shallow robotic thinking and ...

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8 answers
32 votes
6k views
Math topics that reward going beyond cookbook methods
7 votes

Instead of giving precise instructions and objectives, open the question up to whatever kind of inference and creativity the students can generate. Traditional Closed Area Exercise A carpet is 4m ...

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3 answers
2 votes
286 views
Is it possible to understand decimals without understanding fractions?
6 votes

Normally I avoid semantics, but in this case, they're quite important. Is it possible to understand decimals without understanding fractions? No. Such an understanding is literally impossible. With ...

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24 answers
31 votes
7k views
Quote to show students don't have to fear making mistakes
6 votes

There are plenty of quotes here... But if you're trying to increase willingness to make and learn mistakes, I doubt that quotes will change a lot of minds, because a quote will be a tiny trickle of ...

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10 answers
7 votes
2k views
How to explain fractions to 7 year old kid
6 votes

Typically, it is better to introduce mathematical ideas after the need for that new idea is obvious. For example: How should 2 children share 8 pieces of licorice? How should 4 children share 8 ...

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6 answers
18 votes
3k views
Models and strategies for teaching fractions in 7th grade mathematics
5 votes

Not sure if you're still teaching, but the really right answer to this question in terms of fraction content is to read the work of Hung-Hsi Wu. Here's a brief summary of some practical implications....

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6 answers
9 votes
1k views
What are the reasons for “math fear”?
5 votes

I believe it is a combination of the following, among other things. The writings of Hung-Hsi Wu have plenty of examples of the gibberish and pseudo math that goes on in many math classrooms. This ...

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5 answers
20 votes
556 views
What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?
5 votes

Academic, applied, and research math is the world where you come from. [Edit: Much of] Elementary "math" is a whole different world. If you want to know why quotation marks are literally necessary ...

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5 answers
19 votes
681 views
Should I tell my students that math is hard for me?
5 votes

First, I'd want to figure out why math is so much easier for you than it is for them. Often it's simply background knowledge and work habits. Second, you can model the type of struggle you expect ...

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3 answers
12 votes
169 views
Tasks that encourage argumentation
5 votes

Statistics cases are usually a fertile source of arguments. Example: Some believe that laptops in math classrooms help learning. Some believe laptops harm learning. Task: Consider your own math ...

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6 answers
36 votes
4k views
How can I give feedback that is not demotivating?
4 votes

Quote, emphasis [and implications] added: Question: Is it wrong [for the teacher] to say "you are wrong"? If yes, how do we [the teacher] correct mistakes in a way that is not demotivating? ...

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5 answers
6 votes
506 views
Concrete way to teach addition and subtraction of fractions
4 votes

Suggestion: Do not bother having students do calculations with two fractions until they can do a comparable operation with a fraction and a whole number. Example: Before teaching, say, $\frac{3}{2}-\...

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3 answers
6 votes
388 views
How do I convince my teachers that a book on maths must focus on conceptual understanding?
4 votes

(This entire post is speculation.) I think your teachers think that they are teaching conceptually already and that the students already have a deep understanding. You need to burst that bubble not ...

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3 answers
11 votes
2k views
How to engage low-level students?
4 votes

There isn't enough information to answer the question, but I'll speculate, based on what often happens in the world of math education. People who enjoy & teach math are often shell-shocked at how ...

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1 answers
6 votes
121 views
How to help my tutoring students study between sessions
4 votes

Here are a few pointers and questions. Do the families have a realistic picture of how much help the students actually need? It is common in my work as a tutor to find 14-year-old kids who are ...

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5 answers
29 votes
4k views
What fraction of the population is incapable of learning algebra?
4 votes

Say student X tries a dozen different teachers and tutors and learning methods to grok algebra and they all fail. Is X incapable or is there another approach that would work better? The question ...

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3 answers
6 votes
328 views
What is the purpose of "instant" tutoring?
3 votes

My question is: What is the true purpose of instant tutoring? Is it meant to be a Q and A where the tutor just gives the answer? Or should I stick to my teaching philosophy during instant tutoring ...

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4 answers
2 votes
507 views
At what age are most children able to convert between rational fractions and decimals?
3 votes

There is no single answer because there are several semi-overlapping methods to convert fractions and decimals. Depending on the numbers, they require drastically varying amounts of prior knowledge. ...

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18 answers
35 votes
8k views
How do I show students the Beauty of Mathematics?
3 votes

Many of the students say they don’t like mathematics because they only learn for examinations. How do I show them the true beauty of mathematics? How about testing them on that beautiful content on ...

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23 answers
13 votes
16k views
Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English
3 votes

The word "multiply" in English almost always means "increase". Many people believe that $\frac{3}{7}\times9$ must be bigger than $9$ because $9$ is getting multiplied.

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3 answers
10 votes
892 views
What is the pedagogical justification and history for using mnemonics to teach order of operations?
3 votes

"Order of Operations" as commonly taught and tested is just a mess. Here is a picture from a real standardized test in New York. It was quoted in one of Hung-Hsi Wu's essays. The order of operations ...

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