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I love teaching Algebra and Pre-Algebra.  This Spring I had a student who was having a difficult time with the concept, and I finally came up with a plan.   5X+3=28   OK, here you go.  In this box (on the plate, whatever) are 28 M&M's.  Some are loose, some are in baggies.  There are 5 baggies, and the same amount of M&M's is in each bag.  How many are in each bag?     Then we go through the process of removing the loose M&M's.  Do we still have 28 M&M's in the box?  NO! we took out 3, so we subtract 3 from both sides, the visual image and hands on experience makes processing the formula a no-brainer, now we have 5 baggies and 25 M&M's.  The student can easily solve the remaining portion of the equation.     We did about half a dozen problems with different candy (with pre-session parent approval) and the conditions are, if you get the answer correct, you can... read more

Scratch is a wonderful project out of the wonderful school, MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This project is designed to allow children of all ages to learn the basics of programming by hiding the language, and structure of programming behind pretty pictures, called sprites. It also makes adding sound and movement to a presentation very very easy.   So, I have put some time in and I have created demos for some of the "Properties of Real Numbers" that I teach during pre-algebra lessons and that everyone should be familiar with if they did not sleep through their 7th and 8th grade math classes. If you did, then maybe you should pop over to http://scratch.mit.edu/ and search for the distributive property, or the commutative property. Please leave a comment there if you do, and vote it up!   Thanks,   James M. Math and computer programming tutor

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