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...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dboyz Night Time Fash Card Caper.

First I want to make it clear that flash cards are not a primary teaching tool. If anything I use them as a diagnostic tool to see where students are, how easily they can recall facts and where we can play games and do other activities that will cover the ones they need work on, these two have pretty much mastered this deck. The point is when you are doing math try to have fun with it. It doesn't have to be "work."  Before I turned the camera on it was much sillier and we were having lots more laughs...which is why I got the camera. Of course when I turned the camera on things changed but you can still see we were having fun not just "drilling..."

This is more of a home video. It is poor quality and too dark but that's not the point. The point is not to use flash cards as your primary tool for memorizing math facts...and that if you are relaxed and having fun MORE learning takes place not less. There are now plenty of studies that bear this out, and corporations are well aware that it is easier to program people when they are relaxed and happy than when they are stressed and upset.

This was back in December. I probably have pulled flash cards out ONCE since then. We have been playing math for so long by now this kind of single digit division is easy for them to stress, no tears, but it does make them think a little differently than when we do multiplication.

People who use base ten blocks understand the diagram. With multiplication you get the sides of the rectangle, you have to tell me the whole rectangle. With factoring you get the whole rectangle, you have to tell me both sides, with division you get the whole rectangle AND you get one side all you do is tell me the other side. You get MORE information. We are fooling around with the basic concept of the rectangle and using it to facilitate counting. This is concept #3 of the 5 basic concepts. They also get a better feel for the idea of inverse functions and what that means.

It amazes me that some students don't get the connection between multiplication and division.  With division you actually get the most information and yet we usually teach it last and kids end up hating it.  At Crewton Ramone's house of math we teach it right along with addition and subtraction, and even the little kids under 5 are exposed to the idea that it's just more fun counting...because really that's all it is. Take a look at the smiley face division books. These are for kids who can't even write yet!

I have seen kids who are two and a half who can't hardly speak yet sit on their mommy's lap and point to the right answer...the parent was so enthusiastic about Mortensen Math. "Why not? I read her story books this is just another book but she can participate..." Certainly I have no problem with this. My book is designed for little kids too, just another book to read at bedtime. Some people will try and tell you you should wait, and that somehow you're taking away their childhood and other such rubbish. We know the best time to teach a language is when they are YOUNGER, kids in Europe learn several languages and switch back and fourth easily. Math is just another language. Early Exposure to Math concepts helps ensure success. It should also be obvious that drill work is not the most effective method for learning math although repetition is the mother of skill, you can get them to repeat math facts by building and playing until they KNOW them rather than dry, stale, lame worksheets and flash cards, that turn the kids off and make them hate math by the time they reach 6th grade.

Also I'd like to address this line of thinking. If they learn math "this way" instead of "the other way" won't they get confused? Again, just like kids being able to switch easily between languages kids can easily switch between symbols and blocks and I have tons of video where my boys do algebra in their heads without blocks or even symbols on a white board or even paper and pencil...all verbally. Once you can see it in your mind, you can use symbols to describe it if you need to, or you can just say the answer.

Further, "this way" they actually see where the rules come from instead of just memorizing rules or facts or algorithms. If they play enough they will see a pattern or a way to figure out the answer and then they can make their own rule, it doesn't matter that the rule or formula already exists THEY discovered it for themselves given direction and play time. They see and understand why and THEY will tell you the formulas...if you do it right; they really will tell you the rule or formula (like Pythagorean Theorem for example) instead of just memorizing a lot of disjointed rules and formulas that become compartmentalized with no idea how it all fits together. Jerry Mortensen used to call this "the meaningless dance." This should sound familiar to you because more likely than not this is the way YOU were taught math and by high school or college none of it made much sense even if you could memorize long enough to get an "A" on a still can't/couldn't apply it. Math also enhances critical thinking...but that's a whole other topic.

"To state a theorem and then to show examples of it is literally to teach backwards." ~E. Kim Nebeuts

If we taught little kids English the way we teach math, precious few of us would speak English. Math: patterns, rules, predictability, consistency...English is kind of a mess.

Here is another blog post on division showing some division worksheets I had made. Search Crewton Ramone division and you will find a host of posts vids and pages I've made over the years.

The original post got eaten by blogger, I think I managed to get everything back...

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