# Math issue.

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I never seem to get any answers when I post things over at the Curriculum board...so, I'll post here.

Why does my 6yo understand harder math concepts, but has trouble with +1 and +0 facts? I do use manipulatives, stories, etc. to explain it every way I know how. I mean really...I was a math teacher!

Can anyone tell me why she seems to have a mental block with this? BTW...she CAN do it...I just have to re-explain it to her when she gets stuck. Sigh...

Smiles!

Thanks!

~Holly

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I think maybe because those two kinds of addition facts are a bit different than the harder ones. +0 especially - "you put two numbers together and still get the same number?"! I would teach +0 as a special magical addition - and then see if you can "trick" her. I bet she will catch on quickly just so that she can trick you back by knowing those funny +0's!

+1 (while really the same as other addition facts) "seems" different because it is the next number on the number line. I think I would teach it as it's own unique kind of problem too. Maybe that would help her get her over her mental block.

Thanks, Jean!

~Holly

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You can find out more at http://www.visualspatial.org.

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Thanks so much for the info!

~Holly

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Why does my 6yo understand harder math concepts, but has trouble with +1 and +0 facts? I do use manipulatives, stories, etc. to explain it every way I know how. I mean really...I was a math teacher!

~Holly

Whenever my kids have a problem understanding what the number sentences represent, I tend to go back to food or toy problems. If they have six cookies and I give them one more, how many do they have (6+1)? If they have six cookies and I give them no more, how many do they have (6+0)?

And I don't see that there is any problem with a 6yo continuing to act out a lot of math stories with manipulatives. Maybe you could have acting out and writing five number sentences each (you and her) be part of your math day.

Sink me, I managed to quote another post.

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Thank you, Sebastian. I do think she will be fine. I use manipulatives whenever they are necessary. I think children need to see it in order to understand.

Thanks for the encouragement.

~Holly

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Did you ever read Ruth Beechick's materials for K-3? She talks a lot about using manipulatives until the brain can actually process the symbols of 3+1. At six years old I wouldn't worry too much about it, just give them some counters to use.

It can take awhile for a child to switch from holding the manipulatives to picturing the manipulatives in their mind to picturing the numbers. Just let them use something to count with.

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Have you tried explaining it using a 100s chart? I always use a chart for +1s and +2s as well as minuses for the same. They usually catch on quickly b/c they understand the "what comes next" idea. That visual cue might help the process.

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Hi Holly,

That any number added to zero is still the number you began with is not a "concept" in math. It's an axiom. (It's one of the field axioms) It's not that one can't illustrate it with objects, but that doesn't provide an explanation since there isn't a mathematical explanation.

A kid simply has to memorize this as a rule.

I have found that my third child is impervious to attempts to teach her using manipulatives and a "conceptual" approach. Ultimately, after she has been exposed to a landslide of drill she realizes the utility of the "trick" that I tried to explain to her (counting on by 1 for +1, for example) It's as if the method she uses, while conceptual in nature, must be her idea and not mine for it to stick. When I give up and do just plain drill work, making sure to only give her a very few problems, say 3 number facts randomly repeated 10 times) the concept itself will click with her with time.

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Yes...and, a number line...and pennies...and, etc.

Smiles!

I'll keep on it!

~Holly

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Ya know...I have her stuff, but I need to read it. Thanks for the reminder!

~Holly

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Thanks for that! My DD does walk to the beat of her own drum!

Smiles!

~Holly

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My son is the same way. Anything geometry related he understands it, but ask him what 2+3=, he gets this far away look, like I just spoke in another language.

It's all to do with the visual spatial thing. "Hard is easy and easy is hard"

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Thanks Elizabeth for the visual spatial link! I will use it for me!

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You might try explaining the +0 stuff as (for example) "7 plus nothing". I would say "What is three plus zero or nothing?" or "Three cookies plus no cookies".

Thanks!

~Holly

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