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Manipulating math

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Happy mid-July, everyone. If you're in DC, please keep the pressure up on the City Council and the Mayor to adjust the 2021 MPD and violence interruption budgets.

Okay, let's get mathy.

Math scares people. Many of us really don't like it, don't understand it and are worried about how our students are handling it. Or, we're very aware our students dislike it, don't understand it and are worried about handling it.

It doesn't have to be this way.

A. was enrolled in Algebra II without ever having Algebra I. She had crushing anxiety and eight weeks of vacation; I have Montessori elementary training. Manipulatives made Algebra I's algorithms very visible, and added to her high school's Algebra I textbook (and eight weeks of summer) totaled up to a confident Algebra II student.

Making math interesting makes it doable. Making math fun makes it doable. Making math visible makes it doable.

Visibility is vital. Math manipulatives build, deepen or may entirely change your student's experience with math processes from numbers and basic operations through algebra and geometry.

The most basic manipulatives are our fingers, and also: LEGO, buttons, rocks, crayons, snuggly toys, books, Montessori materials, Math-U-See bars and blocks, cup measures, or whatever you've got that helps make the math touchable and clear. Here's a list of household items, and for more advanced manipulatives, here's an illustrated glossary.

If your student is struggling with a math concept, try making it visual, fun and doable by demonstrating the process with the most convenient manipulative to hand, and see if it makes a difference. If it does, then encourage them to not only use that thing to practice their new math skill in their homework, but also to show someone else how it works.

Thinking this sounds good but you'd rather I helped get your student on track with math? Text me on 281.536.6689 for a free initial consultation.

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