# Help! Horizons math 3 users, I need your help! (or anybody willing to help!)

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Ok, dd is on lesson 24 of Horizons 3. She has been working on balancing equations. example

3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4

3+____ = ____ +4

____= _____

We have been working on this for the past few days (since what ever lesson it started) and I can not help her to understand this. I have explained this as many different ways as I can and my 7th grader has tried 3X and my dd is just not understanding. I need advice on how to help her get this and why the associative property of addition works. I have even tried with manipulatives. She understands the math-- its just the balancing the equations that is throwing her for a loop! Its frustrating her very bad and I dont know how to get her to understand this! Thanks

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Ok, dd is on lesson 24 of Horizons 3. She has been working on balancing equations. example

3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4

3+____ = ____ +4

____= _____

We have been working on this for the past few days (since what ever lesson it started) and I can not help her to understand this. I have explained this as many different ways as I can and my 7th grader has tried 3X and my dd is just not understanding. I need advice on how to help her get this and why the associative property of addition works. I have even tried with manipulatives. She understands the math-- its just the balancing the equations that is throwing her for a loop! Its frustrating her very bad and I dont know how to get her to understand this! Thanks

What part of it is she not understanding? Does she understand how to fill in the blanks but doesn't understand why the answers come out the same? Or does she not know how to fill in the blanks?

How old is your daughter?

Merry :-)

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Ok, dd is on lesson 24 of Horizons 3. She has been working on balancing equations. example

3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4

3+____ = ____ +4

____= _____

We have been working on this for the past few days (since what ever lesson it started) and I can not help her to understand this. I have explained this as many different ways as I can and my 7th grader has tried 3X and my dd is just not understanding. I need advice on how to help her get this and why the associative property of addition works. I have even tried with manipulatives. She understands the math-- its just the balancing the equations that is throwing her for a loop! Its frustrating her very bad and I dont know how to get her to understand this! Thanks

When you state you have explained to her what she is supposed to be doing, what are you actually telling her?

Does she understand that addition is commutative? 2+4=4+2 ??

I find it easier to start there when explaining that addition is also associative. Grouping the numbers 3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4 is simply "another" way of manipulating addition but does not change the value in any way.

So, if you have 3 red M&Ms and 5 blue M&Ms and 4 green M&Ms, it does not matter whether you add the red and blue together prior to adding the green or if you add the blue and the green together prior to the red. 3 M&Ms + 9M&Ms = 8M&Ms + 4 M&Ms.

FWIW......this isn't a hill to die on. If she can't grasp what you are trying to explain, I would just drop it for now and tell her that they want her to add inside of the parentheses and write that value in the blanks and see what happens when she adds all the numbers together that way.

I would suspect over time, she will be able to grasp the concept.

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bump

I do not use Horizons, but...

This equation is already balanced. Unless they are presenting equations that are not balanced or equations where she must solve for a variable, all she needs to do is the arithmetic presented.

Because I don't use Horizons, I can't be sure, but it looks like they are just demonstrating the associative property using parentheses. Turn a piece of paper sideways and demonstrate the same concept with coins. Write an equals sign in the middle of the paper. On both sides of the equal sign place a quarter, nickel and dime. Show her that no matter how you arrange the coins (what order you add them in) you still have 40 cents.

(A side note on why this is important to present to young children)Sometimes it is easier to add/ associate two of the numbers and then add the third (Of course, this is also true of a larger group of numbers. But, if she is only working with three numbers, you may want to stick with three.). This is clearly seen when building to the next place value. For example, if you add the nickel to the quarter, then it is simple to add 30 cents to the dime. Whereas, if you add the nickel to the dime, then you must add 15 and 25. Numbers that you only need to add one place value are simpler (in this case the tens place) than those where you must add multiple place values (in this case the ones and tens).

An smaller number example for the why-do-I-care, when-will-I-use-this child.

If Jane has 3 candies, Jack has 4 candies, and Jill has 6 candies, how many candies do they have altogether? It is simple to build 10 from 4 & 6 and then add 3. Usually, when you can build 10 the addition is easier to do in your head.

Perhaps, a more mathy person who is using Horizons can give a better answer.

HTH-

Mandy

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When you state you have explained to her what she is supposed to be doing, what are you actually telling her?

Does she understand that addition is commutative? 2+4=4+2 ??

I find it easier to start there when explaining that addition is also associative. Grouping the numbers 3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4 is simply "another" way of manipulating addition but does not change the value in any way.

So, if you have 3 red M&Ms and 5 blue M&Ms and 4 green M&Ms, it does not matter whether you add the red and blue together prior to adding the green or if you add the blue and the green together prior to the red. 3 M&Ms + 9M&Ms = 8M&Ms + 4 M&Ms.

FWIW......this isn't a hill to die on. If she can't grasp what you are trying to explain, I would just drop it for now and tell her that they want her to add inside of the parentheses and write that value in the blanks and see what happens when she adds all the numbers together that way.

I would suspect over time, she will be able to grasp the concept.

:iagree:

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What part of it is she not understanding? Does she understand how to fill in the blanks but doesn't understand why the answers come out the same? Or does she not know how to fill in the blanks?

How old is your daughter?

Merry :-)

She is not understanding how to fill in the blanks. She just turned 9. She is not to young for 3rd grade material thats for sure! Infact, she is an older 3rd grader because she turned 9 just before school started. She is a whiz normally. I mean a complete sponge. Once she is taught something its there to stay. She usually picks stuff up so quickly. Thats why I am lost as to why this is so difficult for her.

Edited by wy_kid_wrangler04
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I think this was already said, but can't you just tell her to add the two numbers the parentheses and put it on the blank line? Do parentheses first--perhaps you could do the same problem with just two numbers to get the associative property down--but I wouldn't even bring that in at first, until she can deal with parentheses.

Maybe you are overcomplicating it? Like I ALWAYS want to do? lol

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When you state you have explained to her what she is supposed to be doing, what are you actually telling her?

Does she understand that addition is commutative? 2+4=4+2 ??

I find it easier to start there when explaining that addition is also associative. Grouping the numbers 3+ (5+4)= (3+5)+4 is simply "another" way of manipulating addition but does not change the value in any way.

So, if you have 3 red M&Ms and 5 blue M&Ms and 4 green M&Ms, it does not matter whether you add the red and blue together prior to adding the green or if you add the blue and the green together prior to the red. 3 M&Ms + 9M&Ms = 8M&Ms + 4 M&Ms.

FWIW......this isn't a hill to die on. If she can't grasp what you are trying to explain, I would just drop it for now and tell her that they want her to add inside of the parentheses and write that value in the blanks and see what happens when she adds all the numbers together that way.

I would suspect over time, she will be able to grasp the concept.

Yes she understands the associative property competely. I am not totally sure what she is confused about. I know she has a hard time filling in the blanks. She just tries to add everything. That is what I keep trying to explain to her is it is just showing that no matter how things are grouped together she still gets the same answer, and the bottom line the answers should be the same. Maybe I will give her a bit of time and come back to that. I don't mind a little frustration, I think that can be good during problem solving. But to constantly be frustrated over not understanding I dont like, KWIM?

I am lost because she catches on to things so easily. She LOVES doing the problems to solve for N already (when you have to subtract from both sides). She just loves it. I thought she would pick up on this just as easy also.

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Or I know--just write the numbers without the parentheses on the white board, and give her two cardboard parentheses.

Write just the first part of the equation--

3+5+4

Then have her physically put the cardboard parentheses around the 3 and the 5 and add it first, then add the 4. Write down the number that she gets as the answer off to the side nice and big.

Then have her group the 5 and the 4, add those, and then add the 3. Write the answer--same number! yeah!

Then, show her what you just did--first you did (3+5)+4,--write that down-- then you did 3+(5+4)--write it down leaving a little space between for the equal sign--don't write that just yet. Say, So, did you see you got the same answer for both problems? Insert the equal sign.

Then show her how to write the problem like they want her to.

ETA--Ah--one more step--as she does the parentheses first, say, Let's write that answer down below (like in the "real" problem) so we don't forget it. And do the same for the other one. Teach her to "bring down" what's left over.

I think it's just a format and algorithm problem, not an understanding one, but hey, I'm no math whiz.

Edited by Chris in VA
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I couldn't for the life of me understand the point of that when we did it last year but I do now :-)

It's the Grouping Property of Addition and the term is given in lesson 2 of Grade 4, along with other Properties.

I simply explained that it didn't matter what was grouped together but the same numbers are on both sides. Group any way you want.....it's the same answer and all numbers have to be on both sides.

I like Horizons but these is one of those things that was so weird when we did it but later on put into perspective :-) :tongue_smilie:

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bump

I do not use Horizons, but...

This equation is already balanced.

Yes, it is. I should have said learning the process. It starts with balanced equations then goes on to unbalanced equations. It is the process that is confusing her.

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I think this was already said, but can't you just tell her to add the two numbers the parentheses and put it on the blank line? Do parentheses first--perhaps you could do the same problem with just two numbers to get the associative property down--but I wouldn't even bring that in at first, until she can deal with parentheses.

Maybe you are overcomplicating it? Like I ALWAYS want to do? lol

That is what I am doing. I think its the = between the 2 equations that is confusing her. So I seperated the 2 equations and showed her they get the same answer, then put them back with the = between them and that is what keeps throwing her for a loop.

Through talking to a friend- I think maybe the problem is through drilling her on mental math (we JUST stopped the full singapore curriulum and now are just doing the CWP and IP) that is what might be confusing her. She is doing the math in her head but now I am telling her not to and to write it down. So that might be one of my problems... I dont know. Any thoughs on that?

I would never over complicate things :D (Do you believe me? Because I dont LOL)

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Relate it to something she likes. For instance id she likes those bandz bracelets you can use those as manipulatives (even as a mental manipulatives) to help her get the concept that the answer is the same. I find if I use something like beans or erasers my kids would phase out but if I used something like 'bandz" or "Wii games' they perk up and they get it. It's silly but it has to click iin their brain somehow.

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She is not understanding how to fill in the blanks. She just turned 9. She is not to young for 3rd grade material thats for sure! Infact, she is an older 9 year old because she turned 9 just before school started. She is a whiz normally. I mean a complete sponge. Once she is taught something its there to stay. She usually picks stuff up so quickly. Thats why I am lost as to why this is so difficult for her.

Well, I agree with the others that if she doesn't get it now, she will later. Horizons is spiral so it will come up again.

I would probably tell her, "You are so smart, you just add everything and get the answer! But later on there will be harder problems with parenthesis. What they want you to learn by giving you this easy problem is just that we need to do what's in parenthesis first. So, what's 5+4? Great, that's what we put on this blank. 3 + 9 is the same as 3 + (5 + 4). What's 3 + 5? Yep, can you guess where we're going to write that? Yep, on the blank. 8 + 4 is the same as (3 + 5) + 4."

I actually drew a big upside down caret from the parenthesis, with the point showing to the blank. I also drew a line from the original 3 down to the 3 in the first step--so they could see it was the same problem, we're just solving part of it at a time here. Then I drew another upside down caret from the new problem to the next blank. Kind of like a flow chart to show them where to go next.

"So now we have 3 + 9 = 8 + 4. You've probably already figured out that they really are equal, but they want us to prove it by adding the numbers. So what's 3 + 9? 12, that's right. We're going to write that on this blank right below. What's 8 + 4? Yep, and where should we write that one?"

It could just be the placement of the blanks that is confusing her. Maybe if you rewrote it on a whiteboard or a piece of paper. Write the orginal problem, then put a 1) in front of the first step and a 2) in front of the final step, and then tell her, "This problem has 2 steps for us to follow. The first step is to get rid of the parenthesis, so we're going to do that first. So we'll bring the 3 and the plus sign right down from this problem to our first step--we won't do anything with those yet. We're just going to simplify what's in the parenthesis. So we want to do what it says in the parenthesis first--what does it say? 5 + 4, good. What is 5 + 4? 9, right, so we're going to bring that down to this blank instead of rewriting 5+4. Now we have 3 + 9. We've solved part of the equation. Now..." and so on.

For my kids, the big part was helping them to see what they were supposed to learn--because the problem just looked too easy & they just wanted to write "12" and nothing in any blanks--it just confused them. The book is trying to show them that they'll sometimes need to show their work, and sometimes need to solve things one step at a time--so once I got my kids to understand that, and drew the little carets so they could see what to do, then they got it.

HTH some! Merry :-)

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Well, I agree with the others that if she doesn't get it now, she will later. Horizons is spiral so it will come up again.

I would probably tell her, "You are so smart, you just add everything and get the answer! But later on there will be harder problems with parenthesis. What they want you to learn by giving you this easy problem is just that we need to do what's in parenthesis first. So, what's 5+4? Great, that's what we put on this blank. 3 + 9 is the same as 3 + (5 + 4). What's 3 + 5? Yep, can you guess where we're going to write that? Yep, on the blank. 8 + 4 is the same as (3 + 5) + 4."

I actually drew a big upside down caret from the parenthesis, with the point showing to the blank. I also drew a line from the original 3 down to the 3 in the first step--so they could see it was the same problem, we're just solving part of it at a time here. Then I drew another upside down caret from the new problem to the next blank. Kind of like a flow chart to show them where to go next.

"So now we have 3 + 9 = 8 + 4. You've probably already figured out that they really are equal, but they want us to prove it by adding the numbers. So what's 3 + 9? 12, that's right. We're going to write that on this blank right below. What's 8 + 4? Yep, and where should we write that one?"

It could just be the placement of the blanks that is confusing her. Maybe if you rewrote it on a whiteboard or a piece of paper. Write the orginal problem, then put a 1) in front of the first step and a 2) in front of the final step, and then tell her, "This problem has 2 steps for us to follow. The first step is to get rid of the parenthesis, so we're going to do that first. So we'll bring the 3 and the plus sign right down from this problem to our first step--we won't do anything with those yet. We're just going to simplify what's in the parenthesis. So we want to do what it says in the parenthesis first--what does it say? 5 + 4, good. What is 5 + 4? 9, right, so we're going to bring that down to this blank instead of rewriting 5+4. Now we have 3 + 9. We've solved part of the equation. Now..." and so on.

For my kids, the big part was helping them to see what they were supposed to learn--because the problem just looked too easy & they just wanted to write "12" and nothing in any blanks--it just confused them. The book is trying to show them that they'll sometimes need to show their work, and sometimes need to solve things one step at a time--so once I got my kids to understand that, and drew the little carets so they could see what to do, then they got it.

HTH some! Merry :-)

Thank you! I think I will try the flow chart! When it comes to the math part she just looks at me like, do they really want me to do this? I did try explaining to her that its teaching her a process so that when she gets to problems she can not just do in her head, she will understand the process. I am going to try the flow chart though, I LOVE that idea! Thank you! :D

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