Archive | Pre-Algebra

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 […]

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, […]

Algebra Survival e-Workbook arrives TODAY!!

eBook version of the Algebra Survival Guide is HERE! Check it out on Amazon.com Price is 20% lower than that of the paperback version, and the e-version has several unique advantages over the paperback book.

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.

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!

“Simple” equations? Not always so simple.

Here’s a tip that helps teachers help students solve simple equations, but equations that have a tricky twist that can really trip kids up.

Make Combining Integers a Lively Story

Here’s a fun and easy way to teach one of the toughest concepts in all of PreAlgebra: the rule for combining integers with different signs. We turn it into a fun “tug-of-war” game. This entry gives you everything you need to teach it today!

Algebra mistakes due to Negative Signs? Use COLOR to EXPLAIN.

Help students conquer a major area of mistakes, using color to show the steps in the Order of Operations, with exponent expressions.