HELP! AoPS Intro to Counting and Probability (Cross-post)

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My DD is taking the AoPS Introduction to Counting and Probability class and has struggled mightily with counting (chs. 2-6.)  I am, frankly, of absolutely no use to her.  She has watched the videos and asked questions, but has REALLY struggled to get into the green.  I did locate an MIT open courseware counting lecture; she said it helped some.  Does anyone have any suggestions for other material that might help?  I donâ€™t believe sheâ€™s used Khan Academy yet; if anyone knows of specific lectures, that would be great.

Anyone else?

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Counting is HARD.  Combinatorics is widely held to be the hardest branch of mathematics, as your logic has to be flawless (DW and are are both mathematicians, and both struggle with some of those problems!).  What you may need to do is study the solutions, and repeat the exercises until they make sense and can be done without the solution beside you.  Also, let Alcumus do its thing -- keep going until it turns green.  Our older one needed a bit of time to get through that book.  He didn't finish Intermediate C&P, but he's got a few more years to jump back into it if he wants to.

Khan may help, but honestly, it can also be distracting.  My wife and I both encourage using multiple sources, but on this topic, I would hesitate a bit, only because you are learning about how to think in a certain way.  Having someone else's "way of thinking" mix in could actually be confusing.  You will have to judge that yourself -- if you don't find the approaches interfering with one another, then keep using multiple sources.

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Counting is HARD.  Combinatorics is widely held to be the hardest branch of mathematics, as your logic has to be flawless (DW and are are both mathematicians, and both struggle with some of those problems!).  What you may need to do is study the solutions, and repeat the exercises until they make sense and can be done without the solution beside you.  Also, let Alcumus do its thing -- keep going until it turns green.  Our older one needed a bit of time to get through that book.  He didn't finish Intermediate C&P, but he's got a few more years to jump back into it if he wants to.

Khan may help, but honestly, it can also be distracting.  My wife and I both encourage using multiple sources, but on this topic, I would hesitate a bit, only because you are learning about how to think in a certain way.  Having someone else's "way of thinking" mix in could actually be confusing.  You will have to judge that yourself -- if you don't find the approaches interfering with one another, then keep using multiple sources.

Oh, bless you! Honestly, I am so clueless that I am not able to evaluate the material.  I will show DD your post and suggest that she try your approach.  Thank you so much for your help!

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I agree with Mike, counting is tough.  My girls did find the Khan videos useful, but sometimes they like hearing things from a different perspective.  And, if your daughter is not already using Alcumus, then yes, absolutly use it to the fullest.  Get everything to green, or even blue, starting at the beginning of the counting & probability section.  We've learned not to just cherry pick the Alcumus sections that they are struggling with, but rather start at the begginning and work all the way thru sequentially.

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I agree with Mike, counting is tough.  My girls did find the Khan videos useful, but sometimes they like hearing things from a different perspective.  And, if your daughter is not already using Alcumus, then yes, absolutly use it to the fullest.  Get everything to green, or even blue, starting at the beginning of the counting & probability section.  We've learned not to just cherry pick the Alcumus sections that they are struggling with, but rather start at the begginning and work all the way thru sequentially.

She's taking the online class.  She's been able to get the Alcumus component into the green each week so far, but it's really been a struggle.  Compared to the Intro to Algebra A class (which we thought was hard), this one is a booty-buster!

I just realized, though, that I'm not sure the sequence that the class is following in Alcumus.  I will check and suggest that she start at the beginning, if the class has done something different.

Thank you so much for helping me.  I got through calculus and statistics in college, but they were the versions for morons business majors, so AoPS is really not a good fit for mom!

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• Tanton  can be as difficult to follow as AOPS because he tends to make you work for it also.

There might be explicit instruction found in a Jason Gibson 'Probability & Statistics' tutor video found at (Amazon Prime or Mathtutordvd.com)

Our daughter is doing one of the AOPS intro counting/ prob session too

Her objective is to get a chapter ahead  so the lectures have more value (she is not ahead just almost even)

Hard to say whether time spent using other resources is better than just working with the AOPS resources.

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Thanks again, Ray!  DH has a Prime account; I'll ask him to look for those videos.  Going through her book, though, it looks like she started to fall behind after chapter 2.  That week she had a HECK of a time getting out of the orange, so I don't think she spent as much time preparing for the class. Then the third week she never made it out of the orange on the challenge problems, so I'm thinking we need to go back and shore up her understanding of the concepts in weeks 2 and 3.  Unfortunately, my kid is much smarter than I am, and I am of little direct help.  My neighbor (who has a PhD in Physics) has offered to help out, so I'm hoping that he will be able to give her some guidance.

Thank you again for you ideas.  I really appreciate the help!

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I find that the online classes often ignore the problems in the book and do their own problem sets along with alcumus. This has the advantage of online grading, but I find that is skips some of the basic incremental teaching/learning that you get from the book. If you are having problems, make sure to spend some time with the book problems (easier said than done as I know time is lacking in the pace of the online class).

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Those AoPS classes are fast-paced.  My dd took the counting class for fun and b/c a friend was taking it, and really didn't take it seriously and didn't get much from it.  We later studied from the textbook at her pace so it can really sink in.  If it is still early enough, you can withdraw for a full refund.  If not, you can encourage her to roll with it, and if you want her to have a thorough understanding of counting, then the she should restudy from the text a second time.  (It may sound depressing, but I think it's worthwhile to not rush and have time for additional practice and for the stuff to sink in.)

Good luck!

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