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...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Winter Sale!

Winter sale is OVER.

In recognition of the holidays we are having a WINTER SALE in today's world it is difficult to send a holiday greeting without offending someone. So take advantage of the sale and:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, nonaddictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

Addends, fun math activities, mortensen math, 2nd grade math activities,
We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2014, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that United States Of America is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Disclaimer: No trees or animals were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons may have been slightly inconvenienced.

3 announcements. Tutoring is going up to 50 bucks an hour base rate, beginning Jan 1, 2014.. AND passwords will no longer be included when you purchase blocks. I will still take orders for blocks and such...but ordering thru me no longer includes the annual password perk beginning Jan 1, 2014.

NEED PHONE NUMBER TO COMPLETE YOUR ORDER. Put in "special instructions". Unless it's a password...otherwise we need the ph3 to complete the shipping form although so far the shippers have not been smart enough.

Combo Kits are 70 now (you guys are fooling yourselves if you think you are going to wait around for prices to come back down if anything they are going higher) the sales are "real" sales they don't kick prices up and then mark them down and call it a sale. Almost all kits are going up in price for 2014. DCSK is going to $525.00 and the RCSK is going to $400.00 Also miss the sale and you get to pay the higher price. Period.

Bought a big 4x6 white board. With which to make vid courses that you can buy...problem solving will be the first one...I keep threatening to make vid courses getting closer to reality.

IF you live outside of the "lower 48" I will invoice you for shipping...if you live outside the USA for damh sure you need to inquire about shipping because they cannot ship to you at these prices. You Canadian and Australians and UK'ers particularly should know better...send me an email and I will invoice you. You can pay via pay pal...which means any credit card will do or you can use your paypal account. Believe it or not I also take know those old fashioned pieces of paper that you have to put in an envelope...


I made some paypal buttons to ease the ordering process, but you can/will only be able to use them in the contiguous 48 states where shipping is pretty much fixed.

WINTER SALE: Note some people are waiting for the old sale prices. LOL! It was a real sale. You missed it. Some prices have increased. (Marked **) take advantage of the sale especially on the deluxe CSK. Note both CSKs go up in price on Valentines day. Also note after Dec31 you will have to buy a password, it will NOT be included.

Also note when the password changes all you have to do is email me for the new if you have bought a one or a kit that included an annual password. My password list is messed up and needs updating so I can send out emails with the new one...but I notice when it changes only a few people even ask for a new password so at the moment the time it takes to do that isn't worth it. ALSO note some of you bought one more than a year ago and you will need to get a new one unless you bought a lifetime password...which BTW, will come in handy as new products roll out.

Those of you who got CSKs from CREWTON RAMONE earlier this year and last year have lifetime passwords, my way of thanking you for your support when I was just getting this thing up and running.  It is a pretty short list.

Winter sale is OVER.


The CURRICULUM STARTER KITS are about to go up in price. I suggest you take advantage of this sale price. It's a real sale. The deluxe kit is a super-dooper sale! And it will be a year or more before they are this low again IF EVER. The days of the $65.00 combo kit are gone forever, although the price will actually come down a little after this sale is over. You're welcome.

How to order. Email me. Then I invoice  you. Soon I will have a few paypal buttons for the most common items. Go to my website (link below) for descriptions of the products. Also you can see them in use right here on this blog.

They have some price increases that start FEB 14,2014 so take advantage of this WINTER SALE 2013/14 NOW.

Don't know what to get. My recommendation is always the same...when in doubt by a combo kit. Now you can get a combo kit and a set of multi tens for what the price of a combo kit was alone almost...was 91 just for a combo kit. If you have a bigger budget I can't stress enough what a freaking deal the deluxe CSK is at $425.


COMBO KIT singles reg $80 SALE 13W $70 Will come down from $91.00 thereafter.

Combo kit and Multi tens. $95.00 Good combination of products.  Reg price will be $120.00 for these two items when the sale ends.

CASE of COMBO KITS QVP - case of 4 - reg increased $315 SALE 13W $250
Winter sale is OVER.


If you live OUTSIDE the 48 contiguous states EMAIL for shipping price. NEED PH# to complete ALL orders.



^THIS IS ONE HECK OF A SALE BUY IT!^ An EXTRA 75 bucks off. I've sold lots of these for 500.00 and that was a deal!!


If you live OUTSIDE the 48 contiguous states EMAIL for shipping price. NEED PH# to complete ALL orders. If you want to order books or items below email me.


**ADDITION SUBTRACTION KIT reg increased $35 SALE $20

**FRACTIONS KIT reg increased $115 SALE 13W $85

HAVING A PARTY KIT reg decreased $65 SALE 13W $50

**M-10 MULTIPLE TENS KIT reg increased $40 SALE 13W $25

N STUFF KIT reg decreased $15 SALE 13W $10

NUMBER PICTURE FUN KIT reg decreased $50 SALE 13W $40


SKIP COUNT KIT reg decreased $40 SALE 13W $20

8 skip count coloring bks; Audio CD Skip Count Songs Jerry Mortensen

**TEN THOUSAND SQUARE reg increased $40 SALE 13W $20

TRIANGLE TRAY KIT w bars 1-10 reg decreased $10 SALE 13W $6

**VERY BASIC BASIC OPERATIONS reg increased $65 SALE 13W $55

BOOKS:  are being revamped and updated and should soon be available in PDFs soon which will greatly decrease shipping costs outside the USA. I will try and get prices on sets shortly. IE I want a set of level one how much? I want Series much?

SERIES A Manuals are back in stock, at last.
WINTER SALE BOOKS.  The way this will work is tell me what you want and I will invoice you.
You need a Dick Tracy decoder ring but here it is:

FORMAT 1 BOOKS: Original Century Publishing Web Press Glue Bound Style

"Individual" "Singles" FORMAT 1 book prices reg $3.15 per book
WINTER SALE 2013/2014 $1.50 ea

Winter Sale 2013/2014 $1 ea on SALE (by the case). OK to mix and match books. OK to mix and match books.

PLEASE NOTE: that these lists are in flux and are subject to change at any time based on Inventory In Stock.
Mortco will only be able to give you a definitive list at the time you request a QUOTE.





These are certain specific Titles which are out of stock in the FORMAT 1 Web Press Glue Bound Style

These are Titles which are no longer offered in the original FORMAT 1 style.

The NEW UPDATED FORMAT 3 STYLE is a real improvement on the original web press books.

These are on Bright White 8 1/2 x 11 size, 3 hole punched with more room for students work
Easier to see and to work with!

You may receive FORMAT 2 "Interim" style of some of these due to availability or lack thereof.

If you do receive FORMAT 2 at first - they will REPLACE these with the NEW FORMAT 3 as soon as possible from Spring Sale 2013 forward. Many of these are in the works. Any that are ready (new ones are ready every week) in the NEW FORMAT 3 will be sent. The List changes frequently enough they cannot give a completely up-to-date List here.BUT this  list is of Books no longer available in FORMAT 1:







Winter sale is OVER.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Understanding Ratios Using Base Ten Blocks.

 I had a student talk about cross multiplication like it was some kind of dark magic. Here is an explanation of WHY cross multiplication works.

You should be able to see it. The relationship is one to three. in the second set the relationship is still one to three...but it's two to six.  You can play games where you get one and the student gets three.  In that case you might have put a two down and the student might get out 3 twos.

But here we are looking at the relationship in a slightly different way.

You can see how it works: if I have the rectangle and one side or two sides of the rectangle...and this is what we are employing to problem solve. Concept three: we form rectangles to facilitate counting.

Now from there we can do problem solving in Geometry with triangles and other shapes..."this is to this as x is to this..."

For example 6 : 15 as 14 : x...of course you could cross multiply and divide but there is an easier way. If you can start using rectangles in you mind problems like this will be easy to see. And even if you can't, the concepts are still easier to understand. This also points out the need for mastering multiplication tables. People will say who need it now that we have calculators...well being able to punch a calculator will not help you recognize 6 and 15 are on the threes multiplication table. And people often lament that calculators don't help with fractions very much...

They do but only for computation not for understanding the math. Some kids can "see" right off the bat that on top we have 2 threes and 2 sevens and if we have 5 threes on the bottom we must have 5 sevens too.  Others take more explaining.  Adults always take more explaining.

Here I drew in the rectangles. Use you imagination to see the sides. The whole thing is six and one side is two the other side MUST be 3. The whole thing is fourteen and one side is 2 the other side HAS TO BE 7. If the "top" is 3 the bottom is 3, if the top is 7 the bottom has to be seven because the relationships are the same.

So if I know the sides are 7 and 5 the whole thing HAS TO BE 35. We love math. It isn't going to be different tomorrow. No exceptions.  And you should be able to see the relationships are the same two to five...doesn't matter what it is.

2x/5x in this case we have 3 and 7...the logic also works no matter where we put the x.

Then we the student sees this, it makes perfect sense. It's not some kind of magic or a stupid rule to follow that just is.

Students need to see where the rules come from and that makes them easier to understand and then we can work on applications with triangles. We can also work on applications with triangles or rectangles and show how these rules work, but...

It's been my experience that having some experience here first makes a big difference there.

And here is some more covering this topic where we can do it the easy way or the hard way. And if we HAVE to do it the hard way at leaste we understand why it works. Taking the mystery out of the math is important.

This student has just about gotten the concepts mastered. He is a quiet boy so he doesn't say much but he did exclaim, "Ok I get it!" at one point and "that makes it easier to understand..." at another. You will find this response almost universal among students who just learned it the other way...using cross multiplication.

Here is a slightly different way of looking at it using different symbols:

In this method it becomes visually obvious that we are talking about multiples.

There is lots more we can do with ratios but that's enough for now...

Simple Math In Chinese Using Manipulatives With DBoyz.

Number ID Kit, Simple Math in Chinese, Chinese numbers

What's annoying to me is a lot of the kids their age can barelyadd numbers in English. I had a interesting conversation with a Chinese teacher who pointed out that yes there may be as many honor students in China as the USA has students but they also have as many failing students as we have students as well.

"Only the smart one comes to USA, no failing students get out..."

I had a similar conversation with a friend who is from Hong Kong. She did "okay" in math but a lot of her friends failed...and what did they fail? Algebra. Base ten blocks make math easy to see in any language. They are quite useful with the deaf and blind too.

Traslating English to Chinese Numerals,
Practice and patience is pretty much all it takes to learn another language...and like Chinese they aren't going to learn it all at once. It's the same with didn't get bad at math in one won't get good at math in one day.  Chinese, English and Spanish with those three Languages you can communicate with most of the inhabitants on this planet. They got English by default, Chinese is proving to be a challenge but it's FUN and after Chinese Spanish will seem like a breeze. I was fortunate to go to a high school where I got Latin,  5 years of Spanish and a year of French JFSAG. But no Asian languages were offered...helping them learn Spanish will be MUCH easier than helping them learn Chinese. And Yes there are plans to get some of the Math Materials translated into Spanish. Right now the house of math is mono-lingual.

Anyway we are just having fun playing around with math in Chinese. They still have lots of work to do when it comes to writing symbols...lots of people have already noted that their stroke order is incorrect. Considering their age at that they only get an hour a week I'd say they are doing pretty well.

There is always room for impoverishment, and I have no doubt that they will get better as they progress. Right now they are finding fun that they can write a little bit in "code." I am told they need to master about 3,000 symbols...numbers are pretty straight forward in Chinese. Very simple rules. More uniform than English.  Eleven is ten and one literally in Chinese...twelve is ten and two. Twenty is two English we have a word for two tens: twenty.

The Mathematics is a Universal Language, learning some in Chinese is fun and will pay dividends in the future. I was going to attempt to do some simple math in Pinyin here but it's too much work...I think I will let the videos do the talking...and people who speak Chinese can cringe all they want.

Trying to write the inflections for even simple stuff like jia (add or plus) jian (subtract or minus) would be a little more effort than I want to put into a simple post like this. Eventually, I think I will discover free software that does some translating that I can just cut and paste...I'm sure it exists I just don't know where at the moment.

The Kit shown is called the numeral identification  kit, or Number ID for short. It is great for REALLY young kids. like two and a half...if they are learning to talk they can learn the names of numbers just like they learn other words. It's just vocabulary. The how many part can be learned later and the fact that the six can be made up of a combination of other numbers can be learned later too.

Use the basic concepts and teaching techniques like the three period lesson and degree of difficulty to make the learning easier and fun...also don't forget to play, they learned a lot of Chinese playing Chutes and Ladders in Chinese and you can make up other games as well even if they aren't learning Chinese. Games and Play: that's HOW they learn.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Factoring Forms Using Base Ten Blocks

Here is a quick video showing various ways of factoring a quadratic. Using the the blocks to show what we are talking about with each factored expression of

3x² + 17x + 24

Can be factored several ways. The most common way is a great example of economy of symbol.

factoring quadratics, polynomials, algebra
Note how we are still all positive...keeping in mind degree of difficulty. Lets understand some basic concepts before we start adding negatives coefficients to the mix.  Most text books just dive right in instead of taking it one step at a time.

The blocks take the fear out and make the symbols relate to something tangible in reality. They can actually see it.

Then when you show your students the other forms it's obvious. Then when it's time to start graphing these bad boys finding zeros and more points and the vertex and y-intercepts and such is easy because they already have this much under their belts instead of being inundated with it all at once.

The student in this video is shy and as soon as the camera goes on he chokes up...had the camera not been on he would have had an easier time answering my questions. Anyhow the action figures or lego men or whatever you have are handy to help get the point across.

factoring polynomials with base ten blocks, algebra

Got the Star Wars effect going on here...a long time ago in a galaxy not far enough away they were still teaching math like idiots. Then suddenly math was cool...and the kids could see it and the symbols made sense because they could decode them and everybody was laid back and groovy.

For more get a password and head over to the house of math.

Learn to use your base ten blocks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crewton Ramone Using Base Ten Blocks In The Classroom.

Here is a second post about how easy it is to incorporate base ten blocks into your classroom situation. Here is the other post I did called Crewton Ramone In the Classroom.

base ten blocks in the classroom, fun math activities, 2nd grade math activities
This is also great for stoking their imaginations as they tell stories about the ruins of Egypt and Great MATH Pyramids.

I've gotten into contentious debates about whether little kids can do math like this. What is so hard about it? They use their ability to discover SAME on both sides to discover x and then they have to do some more thinking to discover what the number is that is disguised on either side. You start off easy and work your way both of the cases I cover here some students got the answers instantly.

You can hear one little girl in the class throughout that vid. She has been given lots of labels, I wanted her to stay in the class even though she is disruptive because like all the other kids given the chance she proves to be pretty good at math and this is valuable at repairing her damaged self esteem. Anyhow, there is a myth that employing base ten blocks will cause mayhem in the classroom. This doesn't have to be the case as seen here:

I will be the first to admit that it CAN get loud and out of control if you let it. Here some of the class is gone because they have remedial reading, but groups of four per combo kit works well and there could easily have been all 24 of them. I never really got any of the lessons on Pythagorean theorem I did on vid but factoring, fractions and percents are all easy to do with manipulatives. Here is an additional page on how to teach addition. (Get it additional!! C'mon--that's funny right there.) You could spend quite a bit of time there if you follow all the links on that page.

At the same time you introduce those concepts you play and build addends learn about integers and subtraction and practice multiplication so they can see the whole picture not just tiny compartmentalized parts.

fun math activities, math manipulatives, base ten blocks.

This one shows them being creative, developing their fine motor skills and more. They not only built addends they had to work at getting the sevens fence to work using the posts...which are addends for 5...younger students would have a hard time making that fence work...these activities are great for preschool thru 3rd grade although older kids like to play too and some who never mastered their addends could also benefit.

Building and playing gives them a positive math experience.

They are in second grade. It shouldn't be work. It should be fun. These kids looked forward to Mondays with Crewton Ramone. They go home and tell their parents about what they did and the parents are amazed at their little second graders explaining factoring or Pythagorean theorem to them, I was at a birthday party and basically got mobbed by the parents there who were amazed that I was the math guy. They thanked me for teaching their kids math beyond adding and subtracting which is about the extent of the accepted 2nd grade curriculum... Adding subtracting a little measurement money and time telling.

This one can get out of hand because if they aren't careful the towers crash and there is a lot of excitement. Note that the point is to build addends NOT to build towers. I have seen teachers have them build using all the same blocks instead of the combinations...which defeats the purpose. Also you can count each level by the 4 or five blocks they used to get some skip counting other words count the all the 7's on the 7 level...7, 14, 21, 28, 35...all the nines on the nines level etc just to get the patterns for the first few in.

addends, base ten blcoks, mortensen math, 2nd grade math activities,

For older kids (third or fourth graders) I make them build it and then tell me how many units they used...they have to do a lot of counting. That means count every block...including the lessee that's 100 plus 5 tens, plus another 100 plus 6 nines plus another hundred etc...some kids count all the hundreds then the matter how they do t it's a great exercise in addition and multiplication.

Here is another fun exercise making a cube (it takes two top trays however) and I didn't make this vid in the classroom but at home with three home schoolers but there's nothing stopping you from doing in the classroom if you have the blocks. I did this with the first graders but never got it on vid. I made them line up and each kid built a combination and they went around and around their tables as fast as they could trying to build theirs faster than the other teams. A teacher could help keep the blocks straight and from falling down as it gets ten high. When you are done you can talk about cubes and notation if you want.

All in all it's EASY to use blocks in the classroom. You will find that just by playing they learn their addends and a lot more all on their own. Some direction from you can help but it's more fun and effective than worksheets and book work, the students learn more faster and you will earn a reputation as a good teacher and a fun teacher that students look forward to coming to rather than not.

Here is a page at the house of math that has a little more about using base ten blocks in the classroom and an instructional video with a million dollar idea in basically links back to this blog post and the other one but it also contains a little more info and a couple of other vids to help you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Too Young To Build Tens

People are always amazed that somehow children learn math through play. This is because when they remember math there probably wasn't much play or fun associated with it. In fact a lot of people would rather not remember their math experiences at all because they often were so bad.

How about you break this cycle with your kids and give them fun math experiences instead, and happy memories. Use math manipulatives and play and have some fun learning. The idea is to give them an algorithm to solve problems like 7 + 8, but before we do that we have to understand that numbers are made up of other numbers and in order to do that we need to build them starting usually with 10.

base ten blocks, addition, addends, math manipulatives
It's like stairs dad! And the two falling off was all kinds of funny.

This little girl is building tens we built other numbers and counted pairs of numbers too but we spent a lot of time on ten and nines. I'd say this qualifies as quality time with dad. We didn't attempt to write anything at all. Just built and talked about the numbers. Using base ten blocks makes it visually obvious to the child and later when they do see symbols the symbols make sense. She gets a full sensory experience using BOTH hands, hearing and seeing what we are learning as we go...whether she is a kinesthetic learner, a visual or auditory learner doesn't really matter...we cover all the bases. Further, even if she was dyslexic it wouldn't matter there are no symbols to confuse and the base ten blocks level that playing field too. She can see what she is doing and hear her father and I tell her that nine and one is the same as ten.

People often think that in order for them to learn math they have to write it down or they aren't really learning it. Really? Do you get little babies to write words down when you are teaching them English? Or do you just talk to them and they pick up the language that way and later maybe when they are 4 or 5 put a crayon in their hand and let them start learning to write letters...but just because they have a hard time writing their letters doesn't mean they can't speak English. Apply the same thinking and reasoning to the mathematics which is also a language.

base ten blocks, toddlers learn math, fun math activities,
I can do it...
You start with very basic concepts like numbers are made up of other numbers and they all want to be ten. You can build tens up and down or you can build them flat or you can make walls. It doesn't matter. If you build sky scrapers they get a good sense of ordination...that is 2 is 1 more than 1 and 3 is 2 + 1 and so on all the way to she started with 10 first and worked we our way down. There is no wrong way to play you don't have to start at one. She built NINES and TENS.

addends with base ten blocks
Building nines is fun and easy.

She looks pretty happy, doesn't she? She was being bribed with goji berries at the time but who cares? She had fun and she did her "work" with lots of smiles and discoveries that caused some exclamations. "6+4 is 10 and 4+6 is also 10!" Some methodologies say you shouldn't reward them and the learning itself should be the reward. Fine. I've seen kids move mountains of math for a piece of chocolate. make the associations with math pleasant from an early age. I give this dad credit because he understands it's extra important to give his daughter a good head start when it come to math (and other subjects) but especially math. Our culture still perpetuates the myth that math is a guy thing, the same way a few hundred years ago reading was a guy thing...

You don't have to go in order just play.
She was having fun building this ten wall on her own. No need to tell her to go in oder starting with nine and one. After a bit we asked her if she could use different combinations but at this point just building the wall that high without knocking it over was a big deal. Fine motor skills being's more than just math going here.

You can see these shots were taken on two different days about a week apart. In that amount of time at this age it's basically new again. But the repetition isn't lost and neither are the concepts. It's in there. The sub conscious mind stores everything. Later we can bring it out again. To educate. To draw fourth....not to cram in. AND when we draw it fourth it will come with pleasant associations making everything that much easier.

Basically we are working on addends here which will make addition much easier later on. I have pages on addends and addition and more games and activities you can play over at my website Crewton Ramone's House of Math.  Join us on FaceBook. And spend some time watching videos on youtube for more info on how to PLAY math.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Crewton Ramone In The Classroom.

Here are a few vids I've made while playing around at Haiku School with 1st and 2nd graders using base ten blocks.

We do math that is supposedly advanced for their age. Most of the time the kids don't seem to notice. We fool around with problem solving and algebra, Pythagorean Theorem and addition, multiplication and division. All it is is counting. No concept is beyond the child if presented at the child's level.

Teachers and teachers aides are always amazed at what I take for granted. Several teachers aides commented that they were doing the same thing at the local community college while they attempted to get their teaching degrees. Many of them are being held up because of the math. "Why don't they teach it this way?" is a common question.

I'll get into that some other time. I am building a six hour Audio Course that will cover that (briefly) and a whole lot more. Should be done this summer. To start off here is a rant. Fed up with teachers who tell me kids can't do simple algebra. Teachers can't do simple algebra, not the kids.

Then here is a CLASSIC lesson with first graders. We learn addends for 10 and nine and the nines multiplication table to boot.

Here is another lesson with is a lesson with 1st graders factoring polynomials but what we are really doing is learning addends and multiplication:

As one teacher put it when they get back to the stuff they are doing for "grade level" they ace it. Also In the 1st grade class I go to for an hour a week they blew away their piers on the standardized tests. Especially in "algebraic thinking" but also in general computation. These scores are confidential or I'd share them. Here is more:

I've been fooling with this for 23 years now. I have heard every excuse in the book from teachers as to why they can't do this their classrooms. This post is about removing excuses. ANYBODY can do this. I can train you. You can train yourself. I am working on courses that you can buy for a few bucks to help you implement this in classrooms or in your home or homeschool.

Meantime get a password for 24 bucks and start watching some vids and reading pages that interest you in your spare time. (That's a bit of a joke, my mom was a classroom teacher I know you don't have a lot of spare time.) Once you figure out how AWESOME this is you'll find the time.

Here are second graders doing slightly more advanced play. They are making square polynomials and you can hear the excitement in the room. It's fun. They know they are doing stuff that's supposed to be "hard." In kid culture algebra is hard, but they often ask for it by name.

Here is a lesson on square numbers:

We are getting ready for Pythagoras. Before you dive into more complex concepts it's good to get them used to the elements they will be faced with before squares and square root. Very important to know what the symbols mean.

And just for fun I took a trip down the radical path. Why. Because you can.

The we played with Pythagoras. The thing to remember is all we are doing is using our counting skills.

The classes with the first graders are about an hour long and 90 minutes with the second graders. I don't expect you to watch all these vids in one sitting but here they all are in one place. You can share them with teachers you know and they can get to them as time permits. Any young ambitions teacher that would like to turn these into lesson plans are welcome to do it...

It is hard to film and teach all at the same time, plus I am hampered by rules about filming children and etc. So I don't make many vids. Hopefully there will e another post like this before summer with a bunch more fun vids for you to watch.

95% of the time we have a great time. Once in a great while things can get rough. I had a Monday morning class with a substitute teacher where the second graders were having a hard time due to lack of sleep

Dboyz Playing Multiplication Minus Manipulatives.

Here are a couple of vids and links to more on multiplication, and tips on how to make it painless and maybe even fun. Spending a year doing worksheets over and over again is SO LAST CENTURY.

The idea is to mix it up, let fractions teach multiplication, let algebra teach multiplication, as well as story problems...and as in these to vids even when you are doing multiplication keep the drill work to a minimum play with blocks, make squares and rectangles. You can hear them say it's fun when I do the writing because they just have to say the answer. At this age writing is work...too many kids get turned off right here because you make it work. Multiplication makes math easy because it makes counting FAST. So right when they should be getting to the point where the math gets easier and easier because they can count fast, it's turned into work and no fun and boring memorization instead of a gateway to being able to do more complex and bigger problems. Remember math isn't just computation. Computation is how we DO math...but it's not the math.

Base ten blcoks and manipulatives can help make math fun if you use them correctly and you have the right kind of blocks. It's all about SPEED. Counting out lots of cubes or pieces takes too long.

Here we are practicing multi-digit multiplication. Unspoken is a lesson on place value and the names of numbers. Hear the "OH!" from the younger boy?

"They give it to you hard in school."

This way is "Easier than blinking."

The idea is to make it fun and if this is your first time to the blog these two have spent HOURS AND HOURS with blocks before we go here. Here is a page showing them learning some multiplication using base ten blocks.

Notice I do all the writing even though the older boy wants to do some...if we weren't on vid I might have let him do some but it slows things down when I'm trying to make a vid. and youtubers have no attention span. Writing on the whiteboard is fun. Writing in a workbook is not as much fun. You can see I also draw pictures and do a fast lesson on division with it.

When it's bigger it's just more multiplication tables. "Doesn't matter it's easy.

This is a long vid:

YOU write for them and it goes fast and easy. You can have them practice writing but I want them to practice math facts NOT making symbols. Writing slows everything down at this age and makes the books NO fun. Like I have said before be careful with worksheets. They usually take the fun out of math. This is also a great way to spend "quality time" with your kids...

Myth is because they can't write they can't do math...false. That's like saying because they can't write they can't speak English.

When you get right down to it it all we are doing is counting. Adding and multiplication is just counting quickly.

You also see multiplication and division go together...

I also give them exposure to the cubes. They have seen the square numbers before and it's good to now 1728 is a cube and so is 343 and so on...later they will recognize square numbers and cubes when they see them because they have been exposed to them.

I can't stress enough before you do what I'm doing in those vids you play with blocks and draw pictures! These boys have played with blocks for YEARS. Once they do they won't need blocks or symbols either. There are plenty of posts where they do math "in their heads."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Sale


Here are the sale prices. This a real sale but there is one small catch: no cash refunds so make sure you know what you are ordering. The process is simple: look over this price list and pick what you want. Email me. I will send you a paypal invoice that you can pay with any credit card. If you use paypal there are other options too. Shipping is free to the USA only. And it has gone up to International Destinations. But with the sale it's almost like getting free shipping. Almost. Australia is ridiculously pricey.

If you do the math you will find that the Deluxe Curriculum Starter Kit comes to 500.00 at the sale prices. Told you it was a good deal.

Anyhow here is contact info:

I get plenty of spam already even with these precautions. The idea with the 300 books is perhaps you get together with some people and order as a group and get even better prices...that way a set of Smiley face books is only 50 bucks, or a set of level 1 is only 50 bucks...but you need to order 6 sets (300 books) so for example one person could order smiley face and level 1 that 100 books another person level 1 and 2 that's another 100 books, and another person could order level 2 and 3 for a total of 300 books and you get the discount...get it? Maybe 6 people order one set of books each. Or two people get 150 books each...or whatever.

Here are my ordering pages with vids on kits and books:



This is a great deal:

Combo Kit Reg $91.00 SALE: $65.00

Multiple Tens Kit Reg $42.00 SALE: $30.00

So now you can get both for 95 bucks!!! And it INCLUDES shipping to the USA.

And when you order thru me you get an annual password on orders over 50 bucks...if you guys go in on a case everybody gets a password. If you order something small I still give you a password just not an annual password.

You may note not everything is on sale but pert near. Good time to get the last of the VHS tapes, you can turn them into DVD's for personal use yourself....just don't try and sell them.



MAR 30 - JUN 29, 2013





Dear Friend of Mortensen Math, Thank you for contacting us today!

Let me know what you want to order for sure and instruct me to send you an email invoice.

Follow the LINK in the eInvoice to pay through PayPal. You don't have to be a member to pay with a card online there.

Our Sale Prices may not be "up" on our Website yet but will be soon.

When you decide what you want to order send us an email with details and then watch for an "email eINVOICE" from us through PayPal. Use the LINK in the email to go to PP and pay. You don't have to be a member of PayPal. Can still pay with a card online.

For help deciding what you might need for your particular student(s) feel free to email or call with further questions. EMAIL IS GREAT because we can thoughtfully respond in better detail!


NOTE: If you order a case (300 bks - mixture ok) of Bks - receive QVP (Quantity Volume Pricing)

Reg QVP case price for Bks = $1.75 per bk @ $525 per case. SALE: $1.00 per bk; $300 per case (300 bks)

No additional special Discounts apply.

This is a very good deal.


A "STRAND" of books is a particular area of "math discipline" or "isolation of difficulty" (Montessori term) or a particular group of "math concepts" such as:

Smiley Face Bks (50 bks) with the following "strands": Reg $157.50 SALE: $75.00

Smiley Face Counting

Smiley Face Addition

Smiley Face Subtraction

Smiley Face Multiplication

Smiley Face Division

"Facts Mastery" Bks:

Addition Facts Mastery (time tests, rote practice of facts) (10 bks) Reg $31.50 SALE: $15.00

Multiplication Facts Mastery (same) (10 bks) Reg $31.50 SALE: $15.00

"Level" Books with 5 "strands" per (most) Levels

The "strands" are: (10 bks in each "strand")

Algebra, Arithmetic, Measurement, Problem Solving & Calculus

The "Levels" are 50 bks per (most) Levels:

L1 Bks (50 Bks) Reg $157.50 SALE: $ 75.00

L2 Bks (50 Bks) Reg $157.50 SALE: $ 75.00

L3 Bks (50 Bks) Reg $157.50 SALE: $ 75.00

L4 Bks (30 Bks): Algebra, Problem Solving, Calculus (also Measurement Level 4 will be available soon):

Reg $94.50 SALE: $ 45.00

L5 Bks (10 Bks): Calculus: Reg $31.50 SALE: $ 15.00

Chemistry Level 1 Bks Reg $31.50 SALE: $15.00

There are 4+ Manuals available currently, and more to be available this year:


Algebra Level 1 Guidebook REG $32.20 SALE: $16.00

Manual Level 2 REG $32.20 SALE: $16.00

Manual Level 3 REG $48.30 SALE: $24.00

Getting Started Manual REG $13.80 SALE: $5.00

Games & Activities Manual REG $13.80 SALE: $8.00



Combo Kit Reg $91.00 SALE: $65.00

Curriculum Starter Kit Reg $350.00 SALE: $300.00

Fractions Kit Reg $105.00 SALE: $75.00

Triangle Tray Kit Reg $9.80 SALE: $5.00

Numeral Identification Kit Reg $28.80 SALE: $20.00

Number Picture Fun Kit Reg $56.00 SALE: $45.00

Addition Subtraction Kit Reg $28.00 SALE: $20.00

Having A Party Kit Reg $91.00 SALE: $40.00 (includes a VHS tape and we will also Backorder a DVD for you to be sent separately as soon as available before FALL)

Want To Be A Ten Kit Reg $91.00 SALE: $40.00 (includes a VHS tape and we will also Backorder a DVD for you to be sent separately as soon as available before FALL)

Newton Deluxe Kit Reg $151.20 SALE: $99.00 (includes a VHS tape and we will also backorder a DVD for you to be sent separately as soon as available before FALL)

Algebra Kit Reg $150.00 SALE: $99.00 (includes a DVD)

Multiple Tens Kit Reg $42.00 SALE: $30.00


REG $48.00 SALE: $30.00










Mortensen Math World Headquarters

1+800+644+COUNTEZ! [1+800-644-2686]

Hrs: M - Sat 7am - 7pm PDT/PST - Los Angeles Time


No cash refunds. Credit exchange only with RMA#.

Call or Email 1st for RMA: 1+800+644+COUNTEZ! (1+800-644-2686) Email:

NEW Customer Service Hrs: M - Sat 7am - 3pm PDT/PST - Los Angeles Time

Again this is a real, actual sale not a make pretend sale. Take advantage of it.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Base Ten Blocks Teach Addends And Multiplication Of Nines.

Here is a classic lesson using base ten blocks. You could easily do this for 1st graders on up through highschool. The older kids tend to go ohh and ahh more...this class was especially unimpressed because they'd seen it once before. These are first graders and this is the nines times table. Obviously something is different here because many older students struggle with nines.

base ten blocks, 1st grade math, addends, nines, multiplication This is a short compound lesson, they can see addends for nines and tens, they can see all the combinations and why it works out that way and they can make sense of it for themselves.

We then went on to build pyramids like you see in this post and we only did nines and tens, this reinforces the lessons on making change and the algorithms surrounding "numbers are made up of other numbers" and "want to be a ten" plus gives them the first 10 multiplication facts for nines all in one short lesson.

Any teach can add this to their "canned lessons" and get good results. Here is the video:

By the time they see it the third time this will be super easy...imagine what they could know by 2nd grade if they had math like this an hour a day instead of an hour a week.

Of course at the end I pointed out a bit about square numbers with 81 and 9 because this was a lesson on nines. We talked about what the symbol means, that squares have sides that are the same, and that you can shape numbers into squares and that it's easy to count one side.

Share this information with parents and teachers you know.   More at:

Crewton Ramone's House Of Math.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Addition & Multiplication With Base Ten Blocks (Using Algebra)

Here is another video showing how you use base ten blocks to bring home the basic concepts of addition and multiplication. A very simple concept for very young students to grasp is numbers are made out of other numbers. You need to talk about addends...they get it when you tell them you can make a 5 out of a 3 and a 2. There are 45 addends but rather than doing the same thing over and over again for a whole year, addition in first grade for example, using worksheets and flashcards and drills...why not play and have fun and do many different activities that teach the same thing. Building towers, pyramids, walls and math towns are all activities that teach addends. (Search crewton ramone pyramids or crewton ramone addition) Variety is the spice of life.

multi-tens, base ten blocks, addends, addition, multiplication, algebra
 You teach addends, multiplication and the algebra is just along for the ride.

Here is another slightly more advanced way to teach three things at once using base ten blocks. You teach addends, multiplication and "the algebra is just along for the ride." Before you do this you get very comfortable with ONE x² before you add two or three. And you might check out this page that shows you how to present the basic concepts of addition and subtraction using manipulatives too. While you are using two of them you can really bring home the addends if you have a set of multiple tens. If you only have single blue (or whatever color you have) bars, not so much; BUT you can still get addends done if all you have is single bars just name the groups of x and add those.

As an added bonus you are factoring polynomials. I have discovered that a lot of older students have trouble with algebra because they haven't ever mastered their addends and they don't have their multiplication tables mastered either...yet they passed math several years in a row and find themselves in high school.

I left a few things out of the graphic because it was getting too busy. You should also see 9 + 9 and of course 1 + 1 (the x-squareds)  But when counting it up they may do 9 + 1 and 8 + 5 to get any rate LOTS of math goes on with each problem and the subconscious doesn't miss any of it...

Older students can take the time to draw the problems and write down the symbols. Younger students need speed and repetition so they don't get bored...and taking the time to write it all down slows things down too we just talk about it...this also will come in handy later when you find they can do a lot of math in their heads. No Blocks. No pencil and paper either.

Other comments about this are regarding "mindset". Using algebra to teach basic math works well on all manner of students from various age groups because it changes their minds about math being hard. It's easy and even fun. Once they think it's easy: IT IS. If they think it's hard, math is much more difficult.

The next idea is working with older students who need to master multiplication and all 45 addends using traditional methods can make them feel stupid or inferior because they know they are doing work that is "beneath their level" or that younger kids do...this can be damaging to their self esteem and further turn them off to math. Recently a parent asked me what I thought of the math tutoring a public school had after school..."more math the same way they didn't get the first time. SO lets do it over again and perhaps they will get it this time." Even if they do they will have less than positive associations with math.

If you use algebra and it's fun and easy to start and stays easy, they have fun feel smart because they are doing algebra which they know in kid culture is supposed to be hard AND they get the practice they need to enhance their skill sets in addition and multiplication. Plus playing with base ten blocks is fun--they look like toys. They are toys. Powerful toys that teach math. Toys that make math child's play. In your hands they are powerful tools when used correctly.

base ten blocks
They MUST get their hands on the blocks. This way you reach all learning styles and oddly enough several universities have recently made the discovery that the more senses you use the better and easier learning is...and the more learning takes place.

Also note BOTH hands make for a whole brain activity. This is why I have success with so many different students.

 The only way to learn math is to do math, have fun while you're at it.

I found early on as a salesman for this method that sales sky rocketed when we had enough kits for everybody in the room and everybody got their hands on the blocks...they understood it, they saw it made it easy they got a kit. Otherwise it was just more math.

Also athletes and other learners that are more kinesthetic excel using this method, and this is also why we do so well with special need learners.

I have made many posts about using algebra to teach basic operations. See the links below. You can also use fractions to teach addends and multiplication but that's another post and another video.

The previous post Algebra With Base Ten Blocks For Addends And Multiplication this could be considered part 1 and the one you are reading now part 2.

More on using algebra to teach other operations:
Using Algebra To Teach Multiplication.

Algebra its many uses.

Here is an older post, contains no video just words and pictures:

Using Algebra To Teach Basic Operations.

And here is a pile of screencasts on various topics:

Crewton Ramone on Screencast-O-Matic.

Use base ten blocks to explain the distributive property.

Shortly there will be another post with Commander Colby showing how to use algebra for remedial math without damaging the child's self esteem or making them feel stupid or like they are behind.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Algebra With Base Ten Blocks For Addends And Multiplication

Trying to get people to understand that you can use algebra to teach addends and multiplication can be a little frustrating. People (including teachers) are so stuck with the rigid and foolish way we have structured mathematics instruction in the USA that using algebra to teach addition or subtraction or fractions to teach multiplication are practically inconceivable. Compound teaching is; however, a very effective method for teaching math and base ten blocks definitely help.

In the picture above she has to tell me the whole rectangle...x² + 16x + 63...she has to add the x and multiply the 9 and 7...and we do it fast. There are only 45 addends, they need to be mastered. There are only We go through lots of problems quickly as you can see here:

This is video from an actual tutoring session. The little girl has all manner of distractions and yet we cover more math in an hour than she'll get in several days at school. And it's fun. Rather than spending days and days doing the same multiplication problems amd filling out works sheets, why not use base ten blocks and do lots of problems quickly. Remember the brain likes to work quickly. And the more impression it get the more likely the information is to be transferred from short term to mid term memory and finally into long term memory and with more impressions the info is available for instant recall. It is more likely to get there if you are having fun than if you are drilling and it's drudgery. The child is engaged, the brain is engaged learning is taking place.

By the time this video started we'd been playing for a good 10 or 15 minutes. Also it was self directed: she could use any two multi ten blocks she wanted, (these are base ten blocks that make building super fast because we don't have fool with getting out tens or x one at a time).

Also note you still have to work with them to get them to add two numbers instead of counting each block, and the more they do it, the faster they get. Same with the multiplication. All it takes is pratice and it's kind of fun to have the control of making up your own problems. She showed her little brother how easy it was to do algebra..."all you do is count," she says triumphantly.

With drill work and work sheets the brain eventually shuts down and it's boring you may even see them begin to yawn. Be careful with worksheets. Using base ten blocks engages all the senses. It's fun an you get more work done in less time. They learn more, faster.

base ten blocks, manipulativesWhen you can do your math and you get it, it's fun and it makes you feel good because learning is fun and sets off all manner of endorphins in the brain. Declaring yourself queen of math never hurt anything anyway. I am especially aware of little girls having their self esteem damaged when they fail at math. The psychology of the female is to take it personally, more so than boys as it was explained to me by a person who had a degree in the psychology of mathematics, little girls tend to think something is wrong with them when they don't get it, little boys tend to think there is something wrong with you if they don't get it. This is an over simplification and generalization but it is backed up with direct observation and anecdotal evidence during my travels.

You can play want to be a ten with the multi ten blocks...only it's actually, "want to be a hundred." 3 tens wants 7 tens...etc...7 ten and 6 tens is 13 tens...same blocks we are playing in algebra so 7x plus 6x is 13x...simple.

You will need a password but you can see the same principles at work when we work with negative factors: and we end up practicing adding integers. They learn about hero zero too, and they will often freestyle their way into concepts like the difference of two squares compare them to square algebraic expressions like (x+1)² and SEE what to do. [Soon there will be a link to a page and vid where a ten year old boy does so called, "advanced algebra." Meantime use the links below for more on using algebra to teach basic math.]

Here is another blogpost Algebra For Addends and Multiplication. You can also use algebra to teach remedial math, I have a student who has a hard time with multiplication and subtractions and fractions we do algebra and then evaluate the polynomials for various numbers. This "tricks" him into doing his remedial work while he learns algebra and he doesn't realize we are doing stuff he should have learned already because he likes algebra, it makes him feel smart. Thus preserving his self esteem AND getting the work and practice done that he needs.

And here is a Video just learning about addends and playing and we don't do any algebra. But we could be doing algebra if we wanted and this student liked playing in algebra but in this vid she opted for building a town instead. This vid is about 30 minutes long. We just play blocks. I have been told this is a great video, might be worth your time:

The point is you can use algebra for teaching right along side, concurrently with, so called simple, basic lessons on addition, addends and multiplication.

More on using algebra to teach other operations:
Using Algebra To Teach Multiplication.

Algebra its many uses.

Here is an older post, contains no video just words and pictures:

Using Algebra To Teach Basic Operations.

And here is a pile of screencasts on various topics:

Crewton Ramone on Screencast-O-Matic.

and if you liked this page which is basically Algebra for little kids you should also like Trig For Little Kids too.

Now you can comment here using the blog commenter or with facebook:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3rd Power In His Head

Here is a gem. Don't tell me they have to have base 10 blocks or they will become block dependent using this method. Watch the older boy picture this problem

x³ + 9x² + 23x + 16 =

in his head...counting out the parts as he goes and then give it to me to solve.

This is a lesson on factoring and counting and multiplication...and how to be cool and have fun when you do math. The reason they don't need base 10 blocks is because they have been using base ten blocks...and we are learning by drawing and visualizing. Here is a post on 3rd power algebra where you can get an idea of what it is he is "looking at" in his head. We baby stepped our way here but now you begin to see the POWERFUL results of using this method.

More algebra at CRHOM. If you want to see more "advanced" algebra click on the "advanced algebra" tab.

We watched this together. The youngest boy pointed out that he drew 6x² + 10x + 4 and didn't get very much attention for it. He also told me the factors (you can see the drawing in black in front of him) (3x + 2)(2x + 2). "Come on, that was pretty cool dad." So we are going to make a new vid where he gets as much attention as his brother...

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And yes, I'm on Twitter.

Simple 3rd Power Algebra With Dboyz

Happy New Year!

Here we play around with algebra concepts. This "simple" problem can be drawn three ways.

x³ + 6x² + 11x + 6 =

(x+1)(x+2)(x+3) =

(x+1)(x+2)*(x+3) =

(x+1)(x+3)*(x+2) =


We stay in two dimensions and simply change the sides because in this case the long side can be factored.

In the video we play with it a little and talk about x to the fourth too.

This video had several takes in this take we miss them counting each rectangle carefully before they realize all three have the same amount, they are just shaped differently, that is they have different factors...too bad too because you could really see them using their skills with multiplication and addends. I have written entire articles about the importance of addends and how they need to be mastered. Here they add to their mastery of addends subconsciously.

Keeping it in two dimensions makes the arithmetic easy. You will note I did not write out all the different symbols for all three but we did talk about them and the side that can be factored is drawn again to the right. At this age we are more interested in counting, addition and multiplication and addends than we are in the actual algebra. We make no attempt to set it equal to zero, don't talk about roots, or graphing we are just playing and counting more will be added later after we have done lots of problems with sides that can be factored and ones that can't.

Then when we return to this simple one and when we add new concepts they will be easy, unclouded by concepts that we have already mastered. Math the regular way introduces everything at once and it can be daunting. We use degree of difficulty to baby step our way to the "higher" mathematics. If you have to try and learn all of it at once it can be overwhelming. Better to build a firm foundation. Then when I talk about it having 3 real roots and hero zero that's the only part they have to focus on, the rest is already understood.

Here is an older student working on factoring by grouping. She never got to see these as a kid so it gave her a little trouble at first.

And here we play with a 10, 000 square, just talking about it and understanding the dimensions it represents.

Here we begin to see why Mortensen Math is head and shoulders above other manipulative teaching systems, and how Jerry took the Montessori method and ran with it. These boys are 6 and 7...and as I explain in the video we get to see a synthesis of counting all in one lesson. The algebra is just along for the ride.

More algebra at CRHOM.

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And yes, I'm on Twitter.