# MUS Alpha and subtraction...am I the only one who....

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...completely did not understand how MUS handles the -9 lesson (#21)??? The whole idea of making it two steps and figuring it out from 10 made no sense to me. I just abandoned that way of doing it and stuck with the basic concept of turning a subtraction into a reversed addition problem. I was just wondering if anyone else had issues with how MUS handled parts of subtraction or if it's just me!!!

Thanks for letting me do a mini-vent. :) I feel better now. But would still love to hear from others!

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Okay, since no one else has answered this, I'll take a stab at it. It's been a long, long time since we did MUS addition (I think it was called Foundations back then). We used MUS from K through Algebra.

If I understand you right, you are talking about;

17-9=17-10+1=7+1=8

This is certainly not how I was taught in school, but it made perfect sense to me when we covered it in MUS. In fact, if the student learn this way, they are better able to do the math in their head instead of on paper, like I need to do. MUS is certainly not the best program for teaching children mental math (Singapore and Right Start do much more, I believe), but this is one of the tricks that he uses to allow them to subtract faster in their heads. Singapore does a great job of pulling numbers apart and putting them back together in a different way (ex. 5+7= 5+5+2=10+2=12)

There were several things that were taught in MUS in different ways than what I learned, but I found that they all helped to make it clear to the student why they were doing things, not just how to do them.

FWIW, I have a degree in math. I must think like Steve Demme because his program was very logical and sensible to me.

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Thanks, Sue. I did well in math as a student but was by no means a math major and I think my strength came from 1) learning math facts and 2) using the algorithms correctly. I'm not sure understanding the concepts was my strong suit which is probably why these kinds of instructions don't make sense to me sometimes! Anyway, it helps to have the perspective of someone who has a degree in math! Thanks again.--Helen

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I've only done Alpha with one child and he struggled with the concept as well. But for whatever reason he was able to get the logic better in the lesson that does the same thing with 5's. Then he was able to transfer that understanding to 9 through 6. Another thing that helped was making up a chant. You can see it here:

MUS Subtraction Chant

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I actually understood that when my kids did Alpha. (I've never understood math before!)

The example he uses of 9 being a vacuum cleaner sucking up one from the other number to make a 10 helped us. After 9 takes that one, you are left with 10 and whatever the other number is... which is an easy equation.

I guess it's all in how you picture it. I struggle with math so much, that this brought it down to my level :001_smile:

Gayle

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