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Please help..... Dd is flunking out of MUS Zeta


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I'm just not sure how to help her! We have tried slowing down, but I don't know how much slower we can go..... She is 13 and in 7th grade. Technically, she should be in pre-algebra, given the scope and sequence of our math..... but she just doesn't get it. I know how important fractions, decimals, and percents are to the next levels of math, so I know i need to do a good job here.....

 

I think that maybe I just need to stop, and start over with fractions, but I'm not sure what to use. She is extremely mechanical in her math. The moment she sees a problem, she picks out the numbers and starts to manipulate them, which I guess is OK to a point, but she doesn't recognize it when her answers don't make sense.... for example 25% of a number coming out to an answer greater than the original number. She just doesn't see that the answer doesn't make sense.... I don't want a whole new math program. But I seriously need a supplement with a whole new approach... Because the MUS approach just isn't working for this area.

 

ARRGGGHHHH! I am so frustrated right now. I feel like I've explained these concepts to her in every way possible! And still! She just does. not. get. it!

 

Please help! :bigear: :bigear:

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Some suggestions:

 

Get manipulatives to really *show* her what's going on when you find a percent of a number (try a "hundred board/chart") or when you relate fractions to decimals, or find a fraction of a number or add fractions (try cuisinaire rods or fraction overlays). These don't have to be used while she is doing her work, but they give her a visual reference point if she understands more concretely what's going on, rather than just massaging numbers.

 

I would absolutely go back and solidify these areas before moving on. Math Mammoth has the individual downloadable books for areas like fractions and decimals. They're cheap, conceptual, and really good.

 

I would also insist that she gives you, either orally or on paper, a logical estimate for each and every question of this type before she sets to solving it. First of all, it will orient her thinking to "what it all means". It will encourage very useful mental math skills. And it will reduce mistakes. If the question is 25% of 205, she should be able to say, "Well, half of approximately 200 is 100. Half of that again would be 50. So around 50 or 51 will be my estimate." Then, and only then, solve. If the numbers are coming out way off, they're forced to realize they're on a wrong track and will try again.

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Are you using the MUS overlays and blocks?

 

Sometimes kids just need maturity, also. It's OK if she's not math oriented and she does all subjects well. Now, she has to work though them, but if she's not STEM, then figure out what she needs to graduate within your state, and just take it slow and use those requirements as a goal.

 

I have a niece who CANNOT do math. But, she's a gifted ballerina, who is going to a performing arts school, and is excelling at her medium.

 

Not everyone is mathy.

 

To help her, I would go to nothing but manipulatives until it started clicking for her. :grouphug:

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I would also insist that she gives you, either orally or on paper, a logical estimate for each and every question of this type before she sets to solving it. First of all, it will orient her thinking to "what it all means". It will encourage very useful mental math skills. And it will reduce mistakes. If the question is 25% of 205, she should be able to say, "Well, half of approximately 200 is 100. Half of that again would be 50. So around 50 or 51 will be my estimate." Then, and only then, solve. If the numbers are coming out way off, they're forced to realize they're on a wrong track and will try again.

 

Great advice.

 

I would add that fewer problems done well is better than many problems done without understanding. There have been times that we have spent an entire math session (30-40 minutes) doing just one problem. Take the time to talk about estimating, ways to approach a problem, how to manipulate the numbers, how to check your answer. Then go back and try the problem again a different way.

 

In the "finding 25% of 205" problem, for example, you could solve the problem in numerous ways--

 

 

  • using fractions (1/4 of 205)

  • using decimals (0.25 x 205)

  • breaking it into parts (10% of 205 + 10% of 205 + 5% of 205)

  • breaking it into parts a different way (25% of 100 plus 25% of 100 plus 25% of 5)

 

I would spend as much time as it takes to get to true understanding.

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Does she see the relationship between percentages and fractions? (ie Does she recognize that 25% is the same as 1/4??)

 

Yes, because she has memorized some of the basic fractions and their corresponding percentages..... She is great at memorizing. But if you threw in a fraction, say 18%, she would have a hard time relating that or estimating the fraction, say "close to 1/5".... kwim??

 

Just now, she had to change 7 and 3/4 to a decimal, and came up with .775

I had to explain it to her 3 different ways to get her to see that .775 is LESS than 1, and her decimal needed to be 7 TIMES larger than 1, so .7.75. There was more to it than that, but you probably get my point.....

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Some suggestions:

 

Get manipulatives to really *show* her what's going on when you find a percent of a number (try a "hundred board/chart") or when you relate fractions to decimals, or find a fraction of a number or add fractions (try cuisinaire rods or fraction overlays). These don't have to be used while she is doing her work, but they give her a visual reference point if she understands more concretely what's going on, rather than just massaging numbers.

 

I would absolutely go back and solidify these areas before moving on. Math Mammoth has the individual downloadable books for areas like fractions and decimals. They're cheap, conceptual, and really good.

 

I would also insist that she gives you, either orally or on paper, a logical estimate for each and every question of this type before she sets to solving it. First of all, it will orient her thinking to "what it all means". It will encourage very useful mental math skills. And it will reduce mistakes. If the question is 25% of 205, she should be able to say, "Well, half of approximately 200 is 100. Half of that again would be 50. So around 50 or 51 will be my estimate." Then, and only then, solve. If the numbers are coming out way off, they're forced to realize they're on a wrong track and will try again.

 

Yes, I think that this is exactly what we need to do. I'm going to look into Math Mammoth. She needs a "working knowledge" of math, kwim? I just explained to her that when she goes shopping for clothes, she needs to be able to estimate the price of an item that is 50% off, or 20% off, or 10% off, without having a calculator :tongue_smilie:.

 

She needs to be able to estimate tax on an item, or a tip when she goes out to eat.....

 

So I guess we will just park here for a while. The wonderful thing about this child is that once she "gets" something, she really owns it. Sometimes it just takes SO LONG for her to get it. :001_huh:

 

Thanks for the great advice.

 

Cheers, Jackie

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Yes, because she has memorized some of the basic fractions and their corresponding percentages..... She is great at memorizing. But if you threw in a fraction, say 18%, she would have a hard time relating that or estimating the fraction, say "close to 1/5".... kwim??

 

Just now, she had to change 7 and 3/4 to a decimal, and came up with .775

I had to explain it to her 3 different ways to get her to see that .775 is LESS than 1, and her decimal needed to be 7 TIMES larger than 1, so .7.75. There was more to it than that, but you probably get my point.....

 

 

The numbers of her answer are correct, it is not a mathmatical error. It was decimal placement error--has Mr Demme or yourself told her to only count the number behind a decimal when placing the decimal in an answer?

 

because we are typing I'll elaborate more: when she divided 4 into 3 she needed to put a decimal behind the 3 and then there are the 7 and 5. All she needs to know is there are 2 numbers behind the decimal in the answer. It is kind of like counting 3 when placing commas except it all depends on how many numbers are behind the decimal in the answer.

 

that is how my 4th grade teacher taught me 32 years ago and i can tell you tenths and hundreths, but in my carefulness I count.

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So do you think her problem is fractions or decimals? If she did well in fractions, I would go on with decimal learning. What about adding LoF or Keys to Decimals. I haven't used keys, but LoF is the opposite of MUS. While MUS focuses on manipulating numbers and why, LoF is all about words and thinking. It will strike at the heart of her weakness. I would try alternating between the books one chapter at a time.

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So do you think her problem is fractions or decimals? If she did well in fractions, I would go on with decimal learning. What about adding LoF or Keys to Decimals. I haven't used keys, but LoF is the opposite of MUS. While MUS focuses on manipulating numbers and why, LoF is all about words and thinking. It will strike at the heart of her weakness. I would try alternating between the books one chapter at a time.

 

:iagree:My DD12 is working on MUS Pre-Algebra, but I am also making her go through the Key to Fractions, Decimals and Percents books as well this year. We are working on the Fractions books right now, and she is definitely getting fractions from a little different viewpoint and that is a good thing, because it is improving her understanding.

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