Algebra really is cool.

cool math, cool math kids,

Or is that algebra is really cool.

Unfortunately the way we teach it makes it seem hard, and confusing and stupid. Here you see algebra teaching the DBoyz math. And by Math I mean addition and multiplication and you can see it's not scary but fun.

This is often where a student will receive their first devastating failing grade: their first “F” and from here many students see a cascade effect where suddenly ALL the grades begin to suffer. Let us endeavor to avoid this by using base ten blocks to make algebra easy to understand.

As I traveled around the United States I found this to be a recurring theme, one of many. People often times women, but not always, would come up to me after a seminar or class or during a break and tell me that could point to the beginning of the end of their good grades or sometimes their academic career. That "F" in algebra, for me it didn't come until I hit calculus.

When students come to me for help, often times I find we need to back up. If the student can't add and subtract numbers without the aide of their fingers, cannot answer times tables drills quickly and easily and/or have basic misconceptions about fractions...these must be addressed along with the algebra, and as you will see BY the algebra. Happily we can do all of this simultaneously, since math is a language we can use algebra to teach the all basic operations: addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and division.  Use math to teach math.

Further the use of manipulatives can completely eviscerate some misconceptions about math instantly. Combining like terms for example becomes completely obvious as does factoring trinomials and solving equations using "hero zero" and "no fun get back to one". Click the problem solving tab for a video about this.

This page basically is just a "jump off" page--this is a very broad topic and I have MANY pages and vids covering it.  

See Also: module three. 

The good news is it's actually easy. I know you may not think so now...but I assure you my students ASK for it by name. Whether it's factoring polynomials,  playing what's under the cup, fooling around with trig and triangles or what have you. It's actually FUN if you do it right. 

Although you need a password, this page on math enrichment should not be skipped. Be sure to follow the links. Yet another example of using math to teach math in this case algebra. The winter training and the hurricane training delve further into this concept. 

This is my favorite subject to teach by far, because it can make the biggest difference, fastest.

Base ten blocks demystify these concepts almost instantly--the "ohs" and "ah-has" you'll get are quite common.  Checkout module one, particularly The Series A Manuals.

Once the student understands the concepts a test is easy because there only so many variations on the theme that can be asked. And because they now have cut it up into such tiny segments in an effort to make it understandable tests are often very narrow in scope indeed, so ace-ing them becomes child's play. What ends up happening when it is cut up into such tiny segments is the exact opposite of understanding: math becomes a “meaningless dance” because the segments are never put back together to form a cohesive whole. Often times I hear “just let me memorize how to do it so I can take the test” (and then forget it). When I get them to understand the concepts and visualize what they are doing... “F” to “A” is as natural as day following night.

It would be nice to avoid the problems in the first place, tho.

Here is a great free lesson for you: Completing The Square 

Building rectangles. should build confidence and make math fun and easy. What happens in classrooms across the country is the exact opposite.

Go to my BLOG and you will see that I like to use algebra to teach counting, addition and simple multiplication and division concepts. My blog has lots of posts now showing how tis mathod makes math easy, IF it's presented correctly. Check out the post called 4 year old math enrichment. The blog is chock full of info you can use to instantly help you understand key concepts and erase common misconceptions.

Base Ten Blocks, Mortensen Math, Manipulatives

Go here to see Math Enrichment in action, where little kids do algebra and think nothing of it--they actually have FUN. 

You can also go HERE, to a page I built for a brief look at how to use it to teach basics like counting, adding, multiplication and more--all you need is chalk & a sidewalk. 

Dig around a little and check out Youtube I have lots of videos there now (over 850) that show how to cross teach and compound teach many subjects at once using base ten blocks to present it. 

Lots of people ask how to do negative expressions like

x² - 3x + 2, or x² - 9, or x² - x - 6.

These can all be found in the videos and screencasts on the advanced algebra page. (Mod IV)

You need a password to get in and passwords cost very little for what you get now. People are starting to buy lifetime passwords because they see how much gets added each year. And doing a little math, renewing each year adds up...

Also just do a search for Crewton Ramone Algebra and see all the stuff that comes back...

More Information and Free Lessons. 

Here are a couple of blog pages you might miss:

Algebra For Addends and Multiplication. 

Algebra teaches addition and multiplication facts.

Excellent FREE lesson for beginners:

Basic Completing the Square


Get this Polynomial PDF to help you keep track of what you're doing.

Polynomial Practice PDF 

Here are a BUNCH of pages from my blog covering algebra.  Many of those posts have free instructional videos on them.

Like this one for example:

HELP UNDERSTANDING THE QUADRATIC FORMULA.

What about problems like

x⁴ + 7x³ + 18x² + 20x + 8

x³ + 6x² + 11x + 6

Subscribe here and you get into the advanced algebra page and a whole lot more. Right now that page has several hours of video and screencasts, but a "Sitewide' password gets you in everywhere BUT the Parent Teacher Training Page.

You might also enjoy my book. Click the tab that says "my book" for more info. Meantime choose your password option and start learning how to use you base ten blocks TODAY!





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"The human mind has never invented a labor-saving machine equal to algebra." ~Author Unknown


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