Archive | Language of Math

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 […]

How to factor out the GCF with stories

Real-life stories, related to algebraic procedures, can dramatically help students understanding both what the process is about, and how to do the process. Here I show how two real-life stories can help students master the steps required for factoring the GCF out of a polynomial.

How to Use Definitions in Geometry

Definitions are TWICE as useful as standard theorems in geometric proofs. This post explains why, showing that definitions are, in a certain sense, very much like “reversible coats.”