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Help, what's going on in my kid's head? How to teach this?


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Okay, I'm reviewing some topics my 5th grade 10DD hasn't ever gotten the hang of. I knew something was off and I never could put my finger on what it was exactly. I have an example of something we're having trouble with. No matter how I explain it, she's having a hard time seeing 3D images properly and she's been guessing her way through it the whole time.

Anyone have any clue how to help her? I'm so confused, she's even more confused.

In the pic, I asked her to recreate the box (we're reviewing, or I though reviewing, volume) because she kept guessing the dimensions even when I pointed them out. Like she's confused a cube is 1x1x1? 

The periwinkle is how she recreated the box. I'm lost. What do I do? 

I asked her to explain, and she said there was 5 in back 3 high, 5 in front 3 high, and said there should be 3 on the left, but used the 5 because I only gave her 5s. Huh? 

I showed her the correct way and she nodded but couldn't do the next one, and we've repeated that cycle and now idk what to do? I don't know how to teach it I guess? How do I teach this? 

This is making serious sense though because she has realllllly bad basic understanding of what adding, multiplying, dividing IS even though she can do the operations. 

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It sounds like you're not only asking her to recreate the box (give her all 1's and see if she can do it), you want her to do the groupings too, with the 5's bars.  That feels like a separate skill.

Also, maybe you need to make a real 3-d box for her to see and reproduce, rather than expecting her to understand that the 2-dimensional box on the computer screen is implied to be 3-d because of their use of perspective drawing.  I can see where that would be another skill that might not come to someone automatically.

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22 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

This is making serious sense though because she has realllllly bad basic understanding of what adding, multiplying, dividing IS even though she can do the operations. 

That seems like a real problem. It's a problem I see pretty often. 

Why are you trying to get her to make a box? What's the goal here? 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Why are you trying to get her to make a box? What's the goal here?

The object was to say how many 5 blocks fit in that shape. She couldn't figure it out so I figured if she physically made it with blocks she could count and see how they fit. Then I realized how big the issue was. 

It's just I don't know how to teach or show math sense. I feel it's just something I know and people know so idk what to do. 

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2 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

It's just I don't know how to teach or show math sense. I feel it's just something I know and people know so idk what to do. 

Hmmm, that's a hard one and takes some practice 🙂 . 

Can you have her talk out her reasoning when doing things? This one is a little tricky, but for things like addition, it might help her to explain what she's doing and why. 

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, that's a hard one and takes some practice 🙂 . 

Can you have her talk out her reasoning when doing things? This one is a little tricky, but for things like addition, it might help her to explain what she's doing and why. 

I know 😥 

I do ask her, she usually has a hard time explaining why. She says a lot of and this, and then this thinking I know what she's talking about. If I ask her to use phrases and words to explain like, first, add, remainder, denominator, multiply, etc. she usually says the wrong words or phrases and gets all confused. 

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6 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I know 😥 

I do ask her, she usually has a hard time explaining why. She says a lot of and this, and then this thinking I know what she's talking about. If I ask her to use phrases and words to explain like, first, add, remainder, denominator, multiply, etc. she usually says the wrong words or phrases and gets all confused. 

She shouldn’t need to use the right words 🙂 . Just to provide proof of a reasonable mental model.

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15 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

What do you mean by that? 

Well, she needs to have some sense of what the operations mean, but she might not use them like a math textbook. So, if she describes addition as "putting together" or "smooshing" or "combining," that's just fine. If she describes as "taking away," then it's not 😉 . So... the idea is to make sure she understands the operation, not to make her use just the right words. 

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3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

The object was to say how many 5 blocks fit in that shape. She couldn't figure it out so I figured if she physically made it with blocks she could count and see how they fit. Then I realized how big the issue was. 

It's just I don't know how to teach or show math sense. I feel it's just something I know and people know so idk what to do. 

Maybe she would do better with a traditional math (like Rod and Staff Publishers) than with a process math (one that uses manipulatives like base 10 blocks like you're using now).

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Maybe get her vision checked. If she has developmental vision problems she literally might not be seeing in true 3D. Happened with my dd. Start with easy things like that. I agree something is up, 

4 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I know 😥 

I do ask her, she usually has a hard time explaining why. She says a lot of and this, and then this thinking I know what she's talking about. If I ask her to use phrases and words to explain like, first, add, remainder, denominator, multiply, etc. she usually says the wrong words or phrases and gets all confused. 

The problem now is you’re mixing issues. You want to use the language the math program was using but the program isn’t clicking fir either of you apparently. 
 

I would get her eyes checked by a developmental optometrist and do something else for math till January. A workbook or Family Math (highly recommend).

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7 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Okay, I'm reviewing some topics my 5th grade 10DD hasn't ever gotten the hang of. I knew something was off and I never could put my finger on what it was exactly. I have an example of something we're having trouble with. No matter how I explain it, she's having a hard time seeing 3D images properly and she's been guessing her way through it the whole time.

Anyone have any clue how to help her? I'm so confused, she's even more confused.

In the pic, I asked her to recreate the box (we're reviewing, or I though reviewing, volume) because she kept guessing the dimensions even when I pointed them out. Like she's confused a cube is 1x1x1? 

The periwinkle is how she recreated the box. I'm lost. What do I do? 

I asked her to explain, and she said there was 5 in back 3 high, 5 in front 3 high, and said there should be 3 on the left, but used the 5 because I only gave her 5s. Huh? 

I showed her the correct way and she nodded but couldn't do the next one, and we've repeated that cycle and now idk what to do? I don't know how to teach it I guess? How do I teach this? 

This is making serious sense though because she has realllllly bad basic understanding of what adding, multiplying, dividing IS even though she can do the operations. 

I can imagine having a similar conversation with one of my kiddos.  In the moment, it's enough to make me pull my hair out and raise the volume of my voice a few decibels.  But I think in my family's case,  it's a language issue not a math issue.  so when I read your original post, it makes me hypothesize that she's not understanding the problem or the wording of the problem.

regarding the bolded about a cube being 1x1x1 .... I can see may kiddo translating  the word "one" in their mind as the cardinal number "one".  So if you're holding ONE cube in your hand and your mouth is telling her that the cube is one-by-one-by-one, then the kiddo might be getting confused as to the different ways the word "one" is being used.  To remedy this, I'd use a centimeter cube then have the kiddo measure the width, the height, and the depth with a ruler.  Then the kiddo can discover that the DIMENSIONS of this single cube are 1 cm wide, 1 cm tall, and 1 cm deep .... which can be stated as one-centimeter-by-one-centimeter-by-one-centimeter.

regarding the bolded about using only 5s ....  I imagine your daughter is stuck on the fact that she was only given 5s.  She seems to understand that it needed to be 3 deep.   However, I'd guess she wasn't able in that moment to figure it out and just did the best she could with what she had.  If you do like Perky suggested and have her make it with all ones first, I'd guess she'd be able to recreate it.  If she could recreate it, then that would disprove your theory that she isn't seeing 3D images properly.  Once you establish that she can translate that 2D drawing into a 3D object, then you could work on her seeing the groups of five that the problem wants.   Sometimes our minds just can't seem to see on demand whatever someone wants us to see an object.  But once someone points out the object, then you can't unsee it.

4 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I know 😥 

I do ask her, she usually has a hard time explaining why. She says a lot of and this, and then this thinking I know what she's talking about. If I ask her to use phrases and words to explain like, first, add, remainder, denominator, multiply, etc. she usually says the wrong words or phrases and gets all confused. 

The bolded is what makes me think it's more of a language issue.  My kiddo often can't remember the mathematical terminology for a long time, which is fair enough since they've only been exposed to the terminology for a handful of years and not in a 24/7 kind of environment.  Does your daughter often (or even occasionally) have trouble finding the correct words for things outside of math time?  Do her explanations for other stuff also use imprecise language that might be confusing unless you know the way her mind works?

Are you certain she has a "reaaaalllly bad understanding" of addition, subtraction, multiplication or does she just have a difficult time putting into words what she knows?

 

 

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7 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

The object was to say how many 5 blocks fit in that shape. She couldn't figure it out so I figured if she physically made it with blocks she could count and see how they fit. Then I realized how big the issue was. 

It's just I don't know how to teach or show math sense. I feel it's just something I know and people know so idk what to do. 

I think you were on the right track to see if she could physically make it with blocks, but you added a complicating factor by only handing her the 5--blocks.    You might start tomorrow by having her make a 5x3 rectangle with 1-blocks.  Then ask her to make the same rectangle with only the blue 5-blocks.  Then you could have her make a 5x3x2 object with 1-blocks.  then have her make the same thing using only 5-blocks.  Then proceed onto the 5x3x3 object.

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7 hours ago, Ellie said:

Maybe she would do better with a traditional math (like Rod and Staff Publishers) than with a process math (one that uses manipulatives like base 10 blocks like you're using now).

Yeah we are doing teaching textbooks 6 (shes in 5th), and she is completing each lesson 90%+, it's just I know in my heart of hearts she's following the steps but not getting it. I'm considering doing MUS, starting half way through Gamma because I have through Epsilon, just to see if the tactile makes a difference. 

Only thing is I want her back in public school by 7th, and I want to keep her roughly at school standards, which is at multiplying fracfions and decimals this year. 

While she can learn all those things, she learned them last year in PS, she doesn't remember or internalize them. I think I need to start over so she rmemebers them and can understand. 

 

For example, she has a hard time understanding that 9/20>8/20 because she learned that 1/8>1/12 and forgets wait if the tops are the same this rule, then if the bottoms are the same this rule, and she wants to draw it to see and who can draw 9/20ths? I'm like. wait kid, what's hard about this? She doesn't get it.

 

I will look into Rod and Staff, I have MUS and see if it might mesh better and be less mastery vs. spiral which I want. 

I want a spiral, tactile program!! 

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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Maybe get her vision checked. If she has developmental vision problems she literally might not be seeing in true 3D. Happened with my dd. Start with easy things like that. I agree something is up, 

The problem now is you’re mixing issues. You want to use the language the math program was using but the program isn’t clicking fir either of you apparently. 
 

I would get her eyes checked by a developmental optometrist and do something else for math till January. A workbook or Family Math (highly recommend).

I know I want to get her all the diagnosis. Issue is, we have guardianship of her and is on state insurance (bc she's not formally adopted by us) which is a.... difficulty. We don't have the extra money to pay out of pocket for a lot of specialized visits right now and I'm having trouble navagating resources. But I've seen how adamantly you advocate for specialized vision tests, so that's on my list.

Fortunately her birth father is getting good insurance in the next few months and I'm going to doctor her all over the place.

I'm wondering, since your family has visited many specialists, what is the result of the knowledge of diagnosis? As in, have you found a better way to teach to your children, or what benefit have you found from knowing specifics for your children? 

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4 hours ago, domestic_engineer said:

Does your daughter often (or even occasionally) have trouble finding the correct words for things outside of math time?

This is my child. She uses odd word choices, and a lot of filler words like you know, this, that, it when she needs to explain more. Like shell say, Mom remember when we were over there that one time and that thing happened and it was hard? And get mad when I don't remember because after probing I found out it happened a year ago. And she gets mad I don't know what she's talking about 😑

She didn't start conversating until around 8.5. Before that it felt like I was always talking at her, which is weird, because I can conversate with my 6yo.

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4 hours ago, domestic_engineer said:

think you were on the right track to see if she could physically make it with blocks, but you added a complicating factor by only handing her the 5--blocks.    You might start tomorrow by having her make a 5x3 rectangle with 1-blocks.  Then ask her to make the same rectangle with only the blue 5-blocks.  Then you could have her make a 5x3x2 object with 1-blocks.  then have her make the same thing using only 5-blocks.  Then proceed onto the 5x3x3 object.

Yeah I think I need to get more blocks 😁, or tanagrams tiles (is that what they're called?) To have her recreate shapes in space. We continued the lesson, and she used a paint brush to section off on the computer screen and managed to complete the lesson (it starts over if you get 2 wrong). The program is designed to be a way to view and conceptualize math differently, that's why we're using it. I just never knew how badly we needed it.

This deifnately is showing me some of what is going on in her head, and I need to find a way to solidify to her that different agles shows different sides of the cube but try are still the cube. Maybe I'll paint the sides different, like a die is labelled but with color. It's so hard to think of a time when I (and other kids) didn't knwo thst and were taught about 3D. Idk. 

 

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6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Maybe get her vision checked. If she has developmental vision problems she literally might not be seeing in true 3D. Happened with my dd. Start with easy things like that. I agree something is up, 

The problem now is you’re mixing issues. You want to use the language the math program was using but the program isn’t clicking fir either of you apparently. 
 

I would get her eyes checked by a developmental optometrist and do something else for math till January. A workbook or Family Math (highly recommend).

 this

 one of my twins cannot see 3D at all. everything is 2D. He doesn't use his eyes together but flicks back and forth between each one. The developmental optometrist noticed this

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no idea I am in Australia

Here it is covered by the public health. Everyone gets a free Eye appointment every year, and then the developmental optometrist can put in a referral so children like my twins with vision problems get to see the developmental optometrist every 6 months free.

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

If you're in the US, how'd you find a developemental opt? Did you ask your regular optometrist? Google? Did insurance cover it? 

https://www.covd.org/
 

if your insurance usually pays for an eye exam, you can look for a doctor that will screen for issues during the normal appointment.   

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I will say that inability to visualize in 3D is very common and I am not sure it's related to how you use your eyes. I have different vision in my two eyes and don't use them together and I don't have ANY trouble figuring out what a 2D diagram is saying in 3D, but many of my AoPS kids have tons of trouble. I think it takes practice as much as anything. 

I wouldn't worry about this nearly as much as I would about making sure she understands what the operations mean.  

Edited by Not_a_Number
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6 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Yeah I think I need to get more blocks 😁, or tanagrams tiles (is that what they're called?) To have her recreate shapes in space. 

 

https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/050132/Non-Linking-Centimeter-Cubes-package-of-100.html

but to just practice building things, you could use any cubes - dice, those classic wooden alphabet blocks, sugar cubes, etc.   

but even Legos and following their building instructions could give her practice translating a 2D image into a 3D object. Or you sketch something out amd let her build it with your MUS blocks. 

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If you get Cuisenaire rods you can get 1 cm cubes.  
 

You can build shapes with the longer pieces and with the cubes.  You can count the cubes.  You can compare counting the cubes to counting the longer pieces.

I did this many, many times with one of my kids with learning area and with understanding how multiplying works to find area.  
 

Many, many, many times.  
 

We made models from the 1 cm cubes and from the longer pieces, to model what a 3 d picture looked like.  

Edit:  area was a hard concept for him.  
 

It is also nice with the 1 cm cubes — we could also measure them and that also helped.


Edit:  I cannot express how many times we have built something of a certain length and width and counter all the 1 cm blocks and then showed how they were the same length and how if you skip-counted by the length or width using the longer ones you could get the same answer.  And for example with a 3x4 — showing it was the same with 3 4cm pieces, or 4 3cm pieces.  
 

So many times.  A lot of trouble connecting multiplication to finding area of a shape.

 

We also used a ruler to draw squares, drew in 1 cm squares with the squares, counted the squares, put the 1 cm cube Cuisenaire blocks into the 1 cm squares we drew with the ruler, etc.

 

It’s all things I would say for my other two kids — they did not need any extra instruction.  They understood drawing arrays to represent a multiplication problem and transferred that to understanding how it would be the same for finding area of a square or rectangle.  

Edited by Lecka
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On 11/19/2020 at 12:54 AM, Mommalongadingdong said:

r example, she has a hard time understanding that 9/20>8/20 because she learned that 1/8>1/12 and forgets wait if the tops are the same this rule, then if the bottoms are the same this rule, and she wants to draw it to see and who can draw 9/20ths? I'm like. wait kid, what's hard about this? She doesn't get it.

Let her draw it!  You don't want her to learn this based on one rule for tops are the same and one rule for bottoms are the same, you want her to understand what the fraction represents.  Drawing a shape and dividing it into 20 parts is a great way to see that.  

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37 minutes ago, Danae said:

Let her draw it!  You don't want her to learn this based on one rule for tops are the same and one rule for bottoms are the same, you want her to understand what the fraction represents.  Drawing a shape and dividing it into 20 parts is a great way to see that.  

Or use those blocks! If you have 20 blocks and 9 are red, the rest blue, vs 8 red.....

 

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2 hours ago, Lecka said:

Good point — if it’s not internalized then it is very appropriate to make a model 🙂

I find that kids drawing fractions don’t have the skills to make the parts equal, leading to confusing visualization. But colourful legos, bingo counters, trucks, dinosaurs, m&ms were all very helpful in reinforcing grouping, fractions, etc.

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14 minutes ago, Arctic Bunny said:

I find that kids drawing fractions don’t have the skills to make the parts equal, leading to confusing visualization. But colourful legos, bingo counters, trucks, dinosaurs, m&ms were all very helpful in reinforcing grouping, fractions, etc.

I’d draw the pictures to keep it consistent. And we talked things through. The talking actually helped more than drawing to my surprise.

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