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...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patient Problem Solving.

Yeah, what he said:

I don't have patients I have students..but still really captures a few issues in a short period of time. I watch this every couple of months...

I need to put more math problem solving videos up.

Here are a few:

Problem Solving with Crewton Ramone.

Crewton Ramone Problem Solving w/ Fractions.

Crewton Ramone Problem Solving With Sarah

Crewton Ramone Simple Systems of Equations

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Mortensen Math Squeeks Back To Life...

Here is a video from the early 90's...

People always wonder about the nature of the relationship between Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty, likewise the relationship between Crewton Ramone and Mortensen Math. Let's just say we go way, way back...

Due to a shall we say, a slight altercation between myself and the Marketing Company that produced the promotional video I was edited out of the vid with the little boy who does the Algebra, even though it was my idea to use him and I'm the one that taught his parents, (particularly his mother) how to use the kit they just bought.

I'm bringing up another generation of testimonials on Maui as we speak. For example:

Multiplication and algebra are the two things we focused on, when I met her she was still adding on her 100's. Before she got a 28 on one test...we haven't even done 10 lessons yet. It's not that Crewton Ramone is so awesome, it's that the methodology IS.

Here is a FAQ at the house of math.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crewton Ramone I just wanna Play Math all day.

Play. Play Math.

I've said it over and over again. Play is important. It's crucial. Note how he talks about problem solvers having to use their hands. Mechanics. Engineers. Kids with blocks. Something happens when you get the tactile sense involved. Kinesthetic learner or not, adding the sense of touch and being able to get your hands on it makes such a big difference mere English words do not adequately convey the importance of it.

2011 and the world of mathematics has still not caught on to how important manipulatives are for increasing comprehension and learning of math concepts. It's still something for special education or minorities. "Real" math teachers don't use manipulatives and certainly not on adults. I note the "real" math teachers are failing miserably as a whole, with a very few bright spots here and there.

Here is yet another TED talk on the subject of play:

"Almost all creativity involves purposeful play." ~Abraham Maslow American psychologist 1908-1970

"Whoever wants to understand much must play much." ~Gottfried Benn German physician 1886-1956

"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." ~Fred Rogers American television personality 1928-2003

"People tend to forget that play is serious." ~David Hockney Contemporary British painter

"Do not…keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play." ~Plato Greek philosopher 427-347 BCE

"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father." ~Roger von Oech Contemporary American creativity guru

Not to hit you over the head with it, with these math quotes but perhaps maybe, you just might want this to become part of your teaching philosophy. I try to keep these quotes in mind when I play math with my students. Grander men than me have left behind these words so that I might also understand the crucial role of play.

"We didn't do anything dad, we just played with blocks." ~My favorite quote from a little girl who went from "F" to "A".

Here are a few blog posts as a reminder:

Crewton Ramone Quikie on Ordered Pairs.

Pre-calc concepts are not hard either if you can SEE the relationships.

Here is a short video that shows how an 11 year old can begin to MASTER the concepts related to constant rate problems and make ordered pairs into simple linear equations without being given formulas to fact given time they will be able to come up with the formulas themselves.

We never once talked about dy/dx. He quickly began to see that the fastest way to do it was to take the largest number that would divide equally into each of them and is just beginning to find out that the result is dy/dx but he is doing it by multiplying and subtracting...which by the way is division. Do you see how math really is a language? If you are a layman that paragraph might be jibberish, but if you are a teacher I encourage you to pause and reflect. If you are a homeschooler with math issues of your own take a while and play with the concepts and you will see that it becomes easier the more you play with it.

This student did 15 or 20 minutes for a few sessions over a few days, later one 30 minute session of which this video is part and we haven't been back since but we will and each time we do more understanding is created.

More at my house of math.

Crewton Ramone Playing with Radicals.

First off apologies to public school teachers who can't watch YouTube a school the screencasting software is buggin' out and won't let me copy it to a screencast without it being herky jerky video or bad for now all I have is this youtube video.

It shows me doing a few problems with radicals. Adding and subtracting (combining) them and doing other operations is actually pretty easy when you keep the 5 basic concepts in mind and can see what you are doing.

You might want to look at the square numbers page at the house of math, too.

You might also note there is a new tab on the navigation bar there for percentages. It's password protected though. Progress is being made. Albeit slowly. All it has is two Youtube vids showing how to do percentages with base ten blocks on it at the moment but there's more to come.

Meantime the completing the square page which certainly is related is growing too.

Square numbers are fun and easy.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Response to Radiation in Hawaii Milk.

Look, first things first. Drinking water limits and limits for milk are two very different things.

The limits for drinking water are 3 pCi/L that is 3 picocuries per liter, and assumes long term exposure.  The average person doesn't drink as much milk as water, nor do you bathe in it, brush your teeth with it, cook (as much) with it etc. The amount is minute because it assumes constant exposure to potable, drinkable water.

The milk they sampled contains 18 pCi/L which would be 6 times the limit for drinking water but not 6 times for milk for I-131. (The limit for milk is 4,700 pCi/L or 261 times higher.) For Cesium-134 they found 24 pCi/L, and for Cesium-137 19 pCi/L, which would be 8 times and 6 1/3 times over the limit for WATER respectively.

This translates into 600%, 800% and 633% for each of the three isotopes respectively; however you CANNOT then ADD the percentages and come up with 2033% over the limit. What kind of math is that? It's not a cumulative total for radiation in general, and besides it's milk, NOT drinking water. No one isotope was 2033% over the limit for water or milk.

That said, how did the radioactive isotopes get into the cow to get into the milk? I would assume from drinking water and eating grass contaminated with those isotopes. We have no measurements for rainwater in Hawaii available to the public.

What is the ratio of isotopes in pCi/L that a cow has to consume to produce milk that has a pCi/L  of the isotopes. I doubt it's one to one, because the "experts" have constantly repeated how poorly the uptake for those isotopes is in humans and animals. Now, I don't know what the ratio is and though I bet there is a study or two on the subject I have yet to find it.

If for example, if the ratio is 2 to 1 then the cow would have had to consume 36 pCi/L of water/grass I-131. For Cesium-134 48 pCi/L, and for Cesium-137 38 pCi/L...if it's 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 you can hopefully do the math yourself.  Maybe it's 10 to 1: I don't know. Were the cows drinking straight undiluted rainwater? Doubtful. Was the grass soaked in rainwater that just contained 48 pCi/L of Cesium-134...again doubtful. I would think that the rainwater that fell on the cows had many multiples of 3 pCi/L of I-131 because it would be diluted in water troughs and on the grass and feed that they consumed. This is all conjecture on my part. I have no numbers with which to work, only a little logic, reasoning and critical thinking skills of which certain bureaucrats seem to be blissfully bereft.

I look at rainwater readings elsewhere and find them to be in the from 79 pCi/L in MA to 543 pCi/L in CA (San Fransisco) for I-131 but in all cases they also found Cesium and Te-132. On the day they measured 543 pCi/L of I-131 they found 13 pCi/L of Te-132 and Ce-137 in San Fransisco along with a few other isotopes.  The point is, for it to show up in the milk it has to be in the rainwater in many multiples of what it is in the milk, but we have no measurements for rainwater in Hawaii that I have seen. NONE. ZIP. NADA. ZILTCH. ZED. ZERO. Not any. Squat.

All I can gather from the exceedingly limited data I can find is that it has been more than 18 pCi/L of I-131 in the rainwater.  I doubt it was 500 pCi/L of I-131, on the other hand I doubt it was only 36 pCi/L of I-131. I am thinking the range is some where between 100 and 400 pCi/L of I-131 in our rainwater but that's a guess. Problem is rainwater IS drinking water for some of the state where catchment and surface water make up a good deal of the water supply.

Again the amounts are minuscule in the main water supply because even so the contaminated water mixes with the drinking water in ratios that would knock down the pCi/L count by factors: Waikamoi Reservoir is a 30 million gallon (MG) reservoir and Kahakapao Reservoir is 100 MG. One gallon is 3.7854 liters.  So doing a little math even if 100,000 liters of contaminated rainwater got directly into the reservoir when it was only about half full it would be diluted far below the 3 pCi/L for the isotopes.  It makes for some nice math problems: 100,000 liters of 200 pCi/L I-131 water mixes with 200,000,000 liters of uncontaminated water...assuming a somewhat even distribution what is the new contamination level?

I just made these numbers up to make the math easy. We have had a wet winter and the reservoirs are better than half full and 100,000 liters would be an extremely heavy rainfall so that would be a conservative (read unlikely) guesstimate using made up numbers erring on the side of contamination. Possible but not plausible and you'd still be 30 times under the limit for drinking water. A thought exercise for the sake of example.

After all that, people on catchment do not have the luxury of large numbers, and rainfall directly on you is not diluted...100 to 400 pCi/L of I-131 and even the smaller amounts of the other isotopes that are basically here permanently due to their much longer half lives are not amounts to be flippantly ignored. Cesium accumulates. It also bio-accumulates. Stay out of the rain for a while and don't drink rainwater. Especially if you are pregnant or a small child.

This is FRANCE where the numbers are smaller and they are much farther away:

The people who have catchment tanks should have been warned, one good rainfall can take a tank from 3/4 full to full and then the dilution is only 1:4.  I know quite a few people who use catchment

Up until March I collected rainwater on Maui for watering plants and occasionally for drinking...fresh vog free rainwater is delicious. This is no longer the case. Over time the longer lived isotopes could be cause for concern in our drinking water but right now this is not the case.  It is indeed cause for caution when it comes to direct exposure to rainwater.  The "nothing to worry about" mantra becomes annoying.

It would be nice if our government would do it's (expletive removed) job and inform the people of the measurements in the rainwater instead of just the lack thereof.  Still, it's better than Canada were they aren't even testing the milk because they are so certain there is no cause for concern. The point is it's not the milk itself but the amount of radiation it took to get the cows to produce contaminated milk in the first place. Also to be noted is not all the rain has radiation in it all the time, but obviously it has had some in it recently or they wouldn't be detecting it in the milk and that's the problem: we don't know how much or when.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Math Might Be fun

Here is a short vid with a student who is figuring out that math might be fun after all. At Crewton Ramones House Of Math it's hard not to have fun with it...

This has been a great week with two of my former "F" students (both of whom who happen to be teenage girls) getting perfect scores on homework and tests and quizzes. One parent quipped "I guess you're worth the money..."


This little girl is well spoken, therefore I know I can teach her math because English is a messed up language and math is a beautiful one.

Here you can see they have a set of base ten blocks but they are not suitable for teaching all the math concepts the combo kit can.  Also note 1000 as a cube which makes third power mathematics difficult at best and fourth power mathematics impossible...
Here you see the algebra again being used to teach addends and multiplication. By know the method should be familiar to some.  Each lesson is tailored to the individual student but the method is the same.  The problems are presented the same way in the same order...

She has some friends to help her count the rectangles. x2 + 10x + 24 is "no problem..."
Here is the screencast covering the lesson:

The password protected pages keep growing with contect. The price is still a buck a month but now you have to buy 12 months worth to get it for a buck a month or you can buy one month (which ends up being 60 days or so...) for 3 bucks...just added a cute vid of an 11 year old and 6 year old playing algebra together. The footage is raw but it is charming...or so I have been told.

There is about 4 hours of password protected screencasts and many pages of pdf's for that price and like I said more being added all the time...if you buy a combo kit or tutoring the passwords are free.

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And yes, I'm on Twitter.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yet More Factoring With Positive 3rd Power Polynomials

Here is a session with an 11 year old, I tacked a short segment on the end of if with a 15 ear old high school student so there can be no question it's basically the same stuff...the textbook problem at the end uses M's instead of X as if that makes it more interesting...

Again if you want to see negatives you need a password...

More advanced algebra at Crewton Ramone's House Of Math...

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And yes, I'm on Twitter.

Even More Factoring with 3rd and 4th Power Polynomials

Factoring is fun and easy or hard and incomprehensible depending on how you learn it. I once had a high school student tell his mother he was math learning disabled due to his inability to "get" problems like these. He quit tutoring one lesson before we got to these...

This student on the other hand is 11 and he'll never know this stuff is supposed to be hard. Note how we stay positive until we really have a handle on how to make these go together. Textbooks always jumble the degree of difficulty and start of with negatives and positives. Then wonder why students don't "get" it...that and they haven't figured out how to show third and fourth power algebra in two dimensions...

There are a lot of posts on factoring polynomials on this blog and also on my website. If you want to see how to do ones that contain negative coefficients as well as how to do division and more you need a password and you will find it on the password protected pages (advanced algebra tab) at Crewton Ramone's House Of Math...

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Crewton Ramone Start In The Concrete!

Start in the concrete, there's no better way to cement the facts into their heads than to start with hands on experience of the math...

Some people find it amusing that kids who have trouble with addends and multiplication can factor third power polynomials...that's because they fail to understand proper application of the 5 basic concepts. Math is just counting. Multiplication and addition as well as 3rd power algebra are just counting.

The main idea here though is start in the concrete and watch your success rate go up...

Here is a short screencast covering this lesson.

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