Archive | Algebra

This is the category for all things Algebra.

GCF of 2 Numbers, Trick Finds it Fast

Ever need to find the GCF of two numbers? Here’s a trick for finding the GCF of any two numbers — very quickly. This is an original trick, so I doubt you’ll find it anywhere else online. But most important, it’s easy to use, and it works no matter how large the numbers might be. Also nice … learning this […]

Reader Input on Slope Post

A longtime reader of Turtle Talk, Jeff LeMieux, of Oak Harbor, WA, sent in a suggestion based on my post yesterday about positive and negative slope. Jeff found a way to help students remember not only positive and negative slope, but also the infinite slope of vertical lines, and the 0 slope of horizontal lines […]

Helping Students REMEMBER the Difference in ‘LOOK’ Between Positive and Negative Slope

Some ideas just slap you in the face. I got slapped this morning as I was flying home from LA to Albuquerque. Those little cocktail napkins they hand out with “beverage service” often give me the urge to write. So this morning, nerdily enough, as I sipped my orange juice at 30,000 feet above the […]

Journey to the LCM … and Beyond!

In this blog/video I want to take you a little bit deeper into the world of … the LCM! Yes, that fascinating little mathematical entity is beckoning us to explore it further. Several readers wrote to me after I posted my LCM “trick,” saying they want to see me demonstrate WHY this “shortcut” works. One […]

Stop the Shotgun Approach to Learning Algebraic Rules

Once in a while I have to hold back my chuckles when I’m tutoring. Here’s a classic situation:  a student is looking at part of a problem that has the expression:  x times x. He says he thinks the answer is (in order): “2x” Then “2x squared” Then “Zero?” … and on and on. I call this the […]

Temperature for Positive and Negative Numbers

Kids struggle with positive and negative numbers … that’s a given. But I’ve recently hit on a reliable way to eliminate the confusion … temperature. Using a temperature scale as a model for solving integer problems has several advantages: 1)  It’s a system students already know from everyday life. 2)  The relationships among positive temperatures, […]

James Bond Math Challenge

Take this informal quiz. Watch this clip from a James Bond movie, and see what math themes and patterns you can find in the art and visuals. Then drop me a comment. I’ll share all comments that make reasonable statements.

Quick Easy Way to Untangle Confusion re: “Greater” and “Less”

Once students learn about negative numbers and absolute value, the concept of greater and less becomes a bit “cloudy.” What was once clear is now “muddied.” But there is an easy way for students to tell which of two numbers is greater and which is less. That method involves looking at the numbers on the […]