Students in a typical classroom only focus on what the answer is and if it is right sometimes ignoring the steps they took to get to the answer. In math, it doesn't matter as much if they get the right answer but if they know the steps they are following. Students can get the right answer most of the time in many situations and still have no idea what they are doing. This is extremely detrimental to their math health. It is more important that students understand the steps they took to get an answer. There is not always just 1 right way to solve a problem. If a student can understand the steps they took, then they are more likely to develop logic and problem solving skills for future subjects. Students must be taught to look back at their work and understand why they got an answer. As students grow to do this more often, they will find that math becomes easier and easier because they understand the logic behind why each problem works. An example of this is as follows. Solve... read more
In many instances while tutoring Algebra students I have seen that students do not distribute the negative as they are supposed to. This is because they do not understand what the distributive property is. For example, many students will to the following: 3x - (x +2) 3x - x +2 2x +2 This is incorrect. The student did not distribute the negative. The distributive property tells us that we must multiply both the x and the 2 by -1, because that is in fact what that negative means. Thus, 3x - (x+2) 3x - x - 2 2x - 2 This is the correct way to solve it. Remembering that the negative must be distributed to everything in the parenthesis is critical.