Here you will see students as young as 4 and 5 years old doing algebra and "advanced" math, without ever knowing it's supposed to be hard.
You are invited to learn how to use this method...

## Friday, January 28, 2011

### Typical High School Algebra

I really question the merit of a system of teaching that damages a child's self esteem.

This student is a high school girl whose confidence is being shaken by her inability to understand algebra they way it is presented in her text book and by her teacher. I am getting through to her because she easily sees the concepts and is starting to see it's not hard once you get the basic idea.

I hear her go "ohh" and "ahh" and "I get it!" and I know I'm am succeeding at making her understand. The two main concepts we are going to cover is no fun get back to one; knowing what one is; having an understanding of one and hero zero followed closely by the concept of the rectangle. More basic math concepts here.

This screencast and post is a little incomplete because I am a little pressed for time when I work with her and I don't have time to stop and take pictures because currently it detracts from the lesson. The first session I failed to snap even one picture and here I barely got any either...if you have read many posts or spent any time on my website the themes should be familiar by now.
In this case I am working on preventing problems by exposing her to factoring and completing the square now so it makes much more sense when it's presented to her later, and by later I mean in her next chapter. Here you see her contemplating the concept, she understand the factors and is seeing what I mean by dividing by two and multiplying the result to complete the square. She can SEE it.

The symbols themselves cause minor panics at the moment. x2 + 8x + ____

x2 + 8x + 16

still seems a little scary but now she's finding it easy.

She also SEEs that the factors can be written

(x + 4)2

and it makes sense, and so does this:

x2 + 8x + 16 = (x + 4)2

more so because we just did a lesson on exponents and economy of symbol.

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” ~Colleen Wilcox