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, […]

# Archive | Order of Operations

# How to Decrease Algebraic Mistakes – Part 5

Combining like terms confuses many students. But by using a special notation, the double-slash, students get a visual aid that helps them combine like terms with greater care. This post shows how to use the double-slash to combine like terms. And it offers practice problems and their solutions, too.

# How to decrease Algebraic mistakes – Part 4

The double-slash notation comes to the rescue in algebra once again. In this post we learn how this clever notation device helps students combine positive and negative numbers, the trickiest pre-algebra concept of all. Read to find out how you can use this notation to make this concept easier for your students or children.

# How to Decrease Mistakes in Algebra – Part 2

Algebra is an area of math that leads many students to make mistakes. Using a simple “Double-Slash” mark helps students wall off parts of algebra expressions from other parts, so that they avoid making mistakes. This post and the next several post will help educators learn how to use the “Double-Slash.”

# How to Decrease Algebraic Mistakes – Part 1

Algebraic expressions are covered with mental “land mines.” Step the wrong way, and an expression will blow up on the page, making it impossible for students to move in the right direction. Fortunately there’s a simple thing students can do to succeed at simplifying algebraic expressions, and that simple something is using what I call […]

# Common Algebra Mistake: Interpreting Negative Signs in Front of Parentheses

Tricky area of algebra: negative signs in front of parentheses. This explains how we can help students relate the concept to everyday life, and thereby grasp it so they remember it!

# Abbreviating the Order of Operations

The PEMDAS abbreviation for the order of operations misleads students into thinking they should always multiply before dividing, and always add before subtracting.

# Addition and Subtraction: More Bad Behavior by Dear Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally also confuses students about addition and subtraction. Read this post to find out how to overcome the confusion.

# Is Dear Aunt Sally “Batty”?

The phrase Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally may be cute, but it is also quite misleading. It leads students to think that they always need to do multiplication before division, which is wrong. You do whichever operation comes first as you read the expression from left to right

# Subtracting Integers

Singing Turtle Press does teach the concept of Subtracting Integers. Read this post to find out how we teach this befuddling concept.