Math Help For You

Math help when you need it most

Easter break!

Sometimes all it takes is a little time away to be able to regroup and clear your mind.  This is true whether you are a kid on vacation from school, or an adult getting time off from work.  Easter is a great time to do just that!

Ahh, to enjoy the sunshine and the springtime air, albeit a tad chilly.  Getting together with family and enjoying good food makes for memories that will last a lifetime.  I love this time of year!

My 22 year old son came home from college with his two roommates, as well as my 19 year old daughter.  The highlight of my Easter was making up Easter baskets for each of them, complete with candy and toys meant for 5 year olds, and hiding them around the yard and telling them they had to find them.  It was quite the sight to see four big kids running around laughing, trying to be the first to find their basket, and popping “bunny rockets” at each other for an extended period of time!

In less than eight weeks, school will be out and summer will begin.  I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter break and time with family and friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed mine!

Math question?  Ask anytime, I’d love to help! 

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Fun Math Websites!

 “Can we play a game?”

“Can we have a free day?”

These are typical pleas heard almost daily in my middle school math classroom.  Most days, of course, I have to be a scrooge and tell them no, that we are in math class and it’s supposed to be agonizing because how else would I get my entertainment? 🙂

However, I have a few favorite websites that I use to reinforce certain math concepts.  Remember the old game “Connect Four,” where you drop checkers into the slots and try to get four in a row before your opponent can block you?  At  http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/ArithmeticFour/ you can play a version where the students answer problems dealing with concepts such as operations using positive and negative integers.  Kids love doing this in class, and get lots of much needed practice while competing with their classmates.  I have to warn you though, tweens are brutal!

My favorite site is the National Library of Virtual Math Manipulatives, http://nlvm.usu.edu .  There are tons of games and mind benders on this site.  I enjoy getting on here myself and playing just for fun!  Remember about 20 years or so ago (wayyy back before my time, by the way!) we had those little plastic squares with the numbers 1-15 in them, that you had to slide side to side and up and down to try and put the numbers in order? There is actually one of these on the site called Fifteen Puzzle, under the Algebra 6-8 block.

Other fun puzzles on the same site that you may recognize are the peg puzzle, Towers of Hanoi, Circle Zero, Circle 21, Circle 99, and Circle 3.  Whether you or your child go on these sites just for fun or just for curiosity’s sake, you’re bound to get some practice in some math related skill without knowing it!  Just don’t tell them it will be fun!

Have a math question that needs answered?  Ask me anytime…I will try to help explain how to solve it!

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How do I get my kid to like math?

How do I get my kid to like math?  As a parent, I’m sure this is a question you ask yourself over and over again to no avail.  In all honesty, there is no real quick and easy answer.

Math is one of those subjects that if you’re good at it, you like it, and if you’re not good at it, you don’t.  There seems to be an unconscious will to give up if you can’t keep up with your peers.  What can a parent do?

First of all, don’t pressure your child and make them feel like they have to like math.  Start simple; get them good at the basics, the old adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing using flashcards that they make themselves.

Get colorful index cards or interesting printed paper that your child finds appealing to look at.  Many times a child will be able to recall the flash card in their mind when they see the problem on a worksheet just because of the uniqueness of their homemade flash card!

Since every topic in math is built upon the basic operations of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, then half the battle will already have been won if your child feels like this is something he or she knows how to do.

Remember,  it’s never too late to get better at basic math facts, whether your child is in elementary, middle or high school!

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How do I solve this math problem?

Scenario one:  Your child comes home from school bubbling with energy, relaxes for a bit, gets a snack and sits down to do his/her homework, only to slowly crumple into disbelief at the realization that they can’t remember how to do the math homework that was assigned only a few hours before.  Mom and dad are no help, after all, they’re old and math probably didn’t exist in their day!

Scenario two:  You’ve decided to go back to college after years of stumbling through life in a job you hate, only to find out that the math 101 class you have to take is based on knowledge that was long ago stored in the deepest, darkest part of your memory.  You’d ask your kids for help, but you’re so sure that you never saw anything like this in high school (and geesh, seems like it was only yesterday), that they probably haven’t either.  Truthfully, you’re just too embarrassed to ask your 12-year-old for help!

If at all possible, I can help you with math problems that you are struggling to solve.  I do teach middle school math, so my comfort zone is through the Algebra’s, Geometry, and Probability/Statistics.  Most entry-level college math classes are Algebra based, and sometimes a Probability and Statistics class is mixed in there.

The old adage about using it or losing it is true;  I find that because I am not teaching beyond this level that recalling trigonometry or calculus is quite difficult, and I would probably redirect your question elsewhere.  It’s worth a try…it’s as easy as leaving me a comment with your question in it and me responding back with your explanation and answer!  I am online almost daily between 4-10 pm.  I’m looking forward to working with you!

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Help has arrived!

Welcome to my new blog, mathhelpforyou!  My name is Misty Reed and I am a middle school math teacher…no, I’m not crazy or otherwise insane, I just happen to love math and those unpredictable tweens!  Rumor has it that you have to be some sort of nerd or brainiac to love math, and that’s just not true.  Okay, maybe the nerd part, but certainly not the brainiac!  The truth is, there are millions of people, both kids and adults, that just double over in agony at the thought of solving a math problem.  Are you one of them?  If not, I bet you can think of a handful of people who fall into this category.  If your child is one of them, maybe I can help ease the pain.  Maybe you have thought about going back to college to further your education, and just can’t bear the thought of having to take that dreaded gen. ed. math course that is required of every student.  I think I may be able to soften the blow in this area as well.  It is my intent to use this blog as an interactive way to help you become a better math student, whether you are a tween or an adult, and if I can successfully guide you into nerddom, well, that’s just a bonus!

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