Jump to content

# Use FAN Process Skills on level or behind?

## Recommended Posts

DD11 is halfway through CLE 500 and I'm beginning to realize just how weak CLE is on word problems. I'm looking at adding FAN Process Skills next year along with CLE 600, but wasn't sure which level to get. Would you go with level 5 or 6? DD is just an average math student, so while I don't want to overwhelm her I do want to challenge and stretch her a little bit.

Thanks,

Lana

##### Share on other sites

I'd go with level 5. I might even go with level 4... I'm trying to remember, but I think 4, 5, and 6 each teach specific strategies that build on each other a little bit. And 6, IIRC, had a lot of geometry problems that were things not covered in a lot of American textbooks before middle school and pre-algebra. They're cheap enough that I'd get 4 and 5 together if you're able.

##### Share on other sites

I have FAN Math levels 1-5; right now I'm running my dd10 quickly through Level 3 (below her problem solving level) in order to teach her how to use bar diagrams. (I have her just do the hardest problems in each section unless she struggles, and then I have her do more of them). There's two issues that come to mind wrt where to place your dd: One, do you want her to learn how to do bar diagrams (probably about 50% of problem solving teaching in FAN Math is bar diagram based), or did you just want a set of more difficult word problems for her to solve using CLE techniques (or whatever techniques she already knows)? And, two, how comfortable is your dd with two-step word problems?

WRT two-step problems, I was looking at CLE grade 5 samples to try to get a feel for their word problems - my impression was that most were one-step word problems, and maybe 20-25% were two-step word problems. (Does that match your impressions?) How does your dd do with problems such as: "Vasily sells milk in three-liter jars. If he sells each jar for 5 dollars, how much will he receive for 24 liters of milk? (from CLE 507, Lesson 2, #25)" Can she easily do all the CLE word problems, including the two step ones? Or does she sometimes have difficulty with the harder CLE word problems?

Level 3 is the last level that teaches how to do one-step bar diagrams for each operation before going into two-step problems; the one-step problems in Level 3 are comparable to the one-step problems I saw in CLE 5. Here's an example of one of the "regular" level 3 two-step problems: "Amy bought 4 shirts at \$28 each. She also bought a pair of shoes at \$79. How much did she spend in all." Here's an example of one of the more challenging Level 3 problems (which are comparable to regular Level 4 problems): "Lynn had 60 books and Bob had 24 books. After Lynn had given Bob some books, Lynn had 20 more books than Bob. How many books did Lynn give Bob?"

Level 4 starts with two-step problems, and is the last level that reviews the easier bar diagrams taught in Levels 1-3 before starting the harder diagrams previewed in Level 3 and taught in Levels 4-5 (and presumably 6, but I don't have it), which build on the easier bar diagram models. Level 4 introduces fraction and decimal bar diagrams as well, starting with pretty straightforward one-step problems. The decimal problems in particular are pretty much the same level conceptually as the easier whole number problems in Level 3 (only with less detailed bar diagram instruction). Here's a typical Level 4 decimal problem: "A wooden box with 7 similar balls weighs 21.6kg. Each ball weighs 2.4kg. Find the mass of the empty wooden box." Here's the very first problem in Level 4: "630 people attended a concert. 214 of them were men, 136 were women, and the rest were children. How many children attended the concert?" Here's a challenging problem: "Samuel and Jimmy had a total of 1860 stamps. After Samuel gave 275 stamps to Jimmy, Samuel still had 344 more stamps than Jimmy. How many stamps did Jimmy have at first?"

Level 5 starts off with a review of whole number operations, but assumes you are solid in your bar diagram drawing abilities. I think you'd need to be pretty math intuitive to be able to do bar diagrams solely from the examples in Level 5, because there are *not* examples of each problem type - you'd have to extend your knowledge. There are lots of fractions and decimals, and intros to ratios and percentages.

Anyway, long story short (too late ;)), if you are wanting your dd to learn bar diagrams, I'd start with level 4 if she's solid in CLE's two-step problems, and in Level 3 if she finds CLE's two-step problems to be challenging. If you aren't going to bother with learning bar diagrams, then I'd start with Level 4 or 5 if she's solid on CLE's two-step problems, and in Level 4 if she finds them challenging-but-doable. (If she struggles with CLE's two-step word problems, I might go back to Level 3 in any case, build a solid word problem foundation.) Does that help any?

ETA: Also, why wait till next year? I'd rec starting now, esp if you are going back to 3 to learn bar diagrams - she could use those on all her CLE problems, too.

Edited by forty-two
##### Share on other sites

Thank you both for the help! You have given me some wonderful, valuable advice!  I definitely want DD to learn the bar-diagram method. If she chooses to use another solution method, that's fine with me, but I think it would help immensely.  DD is fairly comfortable with two-step problems, athough she doesn't always intuit which operation to use.

I'll take a look at the level 3 book. And now I'm considering adding level 1 or 2 for my younger dd.

Thanks again! This forum is always a wealth of information!

Lana

##### Share on other sites

I had my dd11 run through levels 1 and 2 last year for 5th grade and for part of 6th this year.  She is now on level 3.  But I have her alternating these books with the Math Express books, so if just doing the Process Skills, you could move faster.  And we only do them a couple of times a week.  I think starting from the beginning is giving her a good foundation, even though she was already somewhat familiar with bar models.  It's allowing her to get used to drawing the models without having to pull in the harder math at the same time.

Hope this helps,

Kathy

##### Share on other sites

Which book should I purchase for a student currently using Singapore 3?

##### Share on other sites

Which book should I purchase for a student currently using Singapore 3?

They correspond with the Singapore grade levels and should work well with them. They're made to do just that. So level 3.

##### Share on other sites

They correspond with the Singapore grade levels and should work well with them. They're made to do just that. So level 3.

Is there much to be gained from these books? I use the HIG, so is it worth my time to pick up the process skills book? I just want to make certain that we aren't missing something.

##### Share on other sites

Is there much to be gained from these books? I use the HIG, so is it worth my time to pick up the process skills book? I just want to make certain that we aren't missing something.

Hard to say for sure... They're really just more of the same. But I think word problems are the hardest concept for a lot of kids, so a lot of kids need a second try, a little more practice, etc. If you're also using the CWP and it's going well, these are definitely redundant.

##### Share on other sites

Is there much to be gained from these books? I use the HIG, so is it worth my time to pick up the process skills book? I just want to make certain that we aren't missing something.

I got them because my dd was having problems with bar diagrams.  IDK if the instruction in the SM textbooks and the examples in CWP weren't enough for her or if I just wasn't teaching them well or what, but in any case she was obviously struggling, especially with extending the simple diagrams the book taught to the more difficult problems in IP.   So I got the Process Skills books in order to better teach her bar diagrams, and I initially went back to Level 2 even, to try to overcome her "bar diagrams are too hard" mental block.  But it only took a few lessons in Level 2 (way below her level) before she went from "bar diagrams scare me" to "these are waaaaay too easy, Mom".  So we're going through Level 3 quickly.  But we do IP (and have CWP), so I figure we have plenty of challenging word problems.  I'm just using Process Skills to teach and cement bar diagrams, because it was that or drop them entirely, because dd10 just wasn't getting them with the resources we had.

Also, she has very few problem solving techniques - she either can see the answer, or the path to the answer, before touching pencil to paper, or she's stuck.  I'm pretty sure "solving the problem in your head" is what she thinks "problem solving" is.  She does all the necessary writing of things *after* she's solved it in her head.  (I require equations and an answer in a sentence, and as she learns bar diagrams, I'm adding in the bar diagram requirement; she also writes down the computations necessary to solve the equations at her discretion, if she can't do it in her head.)  The idea that you can write down and organize the bits you *do* know, even when you have no idea what to do with them when you start, and that doing that can actually help you get unstuck and see what to do - that's just crazy talk to her.  Right now she thinks bar diagrams are another "crazy mommy" thing - but I'm hoping that learning them well, along with the other problem solving techniques in Process Skills, will give her a stock of techniques to draw from.

I've grounds for that hope, I think, as before I started enforcing writing the equations for each word problem in 2B, she either saw the answer or didn't - she didn't have the "see the path to the answer" option.  And for a long time, she couldn't write the equations until she'd solved the whole thing in her head, and sometimes not even then - breaking down what she did into parts, and describing those parts to others via equations (or words), was *so* hard for her.  But I helped her work through the tears and the challenge, over and over, and now equations are mostly old hat - plus she can reason her way through more complicated problems.  I'm hoping that bar diagrams (and the other techniques taught in Process Skills) will go the same way - after a year or so of complaints and frustrations and working the diagrams backwards from the already-determined answer, she will internalize the new skills enough to really *use* them.

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
×
• Create New...