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 […]

# Archive | Memorization

# 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 […]

# 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 […]