# Blogs

## Prealgebra Blogs

I came across this question while applying to a teacher training program called EnCorps. I liked it so much I think I'll share it with you. As a successful professional, how have you used math or science in your daily work? What would you say to a student who questioned whether math or science would be useful in their future? How will you communicate that with students in a classroom? As the owner of a private math tutoring business, I use math in my work everyday - and not just in the ways you would expect. I use skills from Pre-Algebra to help my students calculate their grade percentages,, to determine how much a \$60 lesson would be at 25% off, and to do my taxes. Algebra helps me show students how to calculate the scores they need on their upcoming tests to get the grade they want. The concepts of logic introduced in Geometry help me to reason my way through difficult problems both in mathematics and in my everyday life. Algebra 2 skills help me schedule my students efficiently,... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

Some study tips for math are actually not what you might expect. I love sudoku puzzles and believe it or not, solving these puzzles on the most difficult level that I can manage helps my math solving skills exponentially. The way in which you solve sudoku is very much the same way you would solve a math problem; searching for patterns, trial and error in some cases (mainly the super hard ones), and strategy. Another game that has a very similar effect is cryptograms. They seem daunting at first, but fear not. A little bit of practice and you will be impressing friends in no time with your uncanny ability to decode!...and solve math problems lol! Honestly, any strategy games involving numbers are great. It gives you confidence when you see the numbers and not a sense of dread lol. Approaching a problem with a smile and eagerness definitely produces better results than disdain and chagrin. A second, and I think the most important, tip I can give is... take breaks often when studying... read more

I would absolutely love to assign my students practice problems if I knew they would do it and follow through. College students tend to be cramming what they can just to get by or to keep their scholarships and are often overloaded each semester. But I do emphasize to every student that I tutor that practice makes perfect, especially in math. There are usually many variations in solving equations and doing extra problems is the only way to truly master it. When I was studying math, whenever the professors gave us odd home work problems, I would make sure to do the even ones as well. If I had a hard time with a certain type of problem, I would seek out other additional problems very similar to it and do those as well. So, I do promote additional homework. However, it is up to the student to take advantage of the advice. ;)

Math is all around us! Recently, math was used to calculate the predicted winner of the upcoming Presidential election! Every four years a predicted outcome is calculated based on numerous factors(some including the current economic situation of each state and previous election results(blue or red state)); all of these factors go into a prediction/forecasting equation with usually around a 75% chance of being accurate. 75% chance!! What sort of subjects go into this type of equation?? Well for starters, basic algebra. Next, a LOT of statistics. Lastly, equal amounts of economics! Another instance-how do they come up with the price of a cup of coffee? Why isn't coffee just 25 cents? Well, if you calculated how much each cup of coffee you get out of a Folger's tin, its probably close to 25 cents or a lot less. Why? Its all about FACTORS. What is the difference between a Folger's cup of coffee and a Direct Trade cup of coffee bought at your local coffee shop? Just to name a few: Cost... read more

I've been asking students the following question for years: "Why do you show so little work, and where are you completing the problem?" Most students I have worked with write less down than I do, and I have quite a bit of math under my belt. I still have not found the answer to this question. Some students say it’s because they don’t see the point, but they have been cheated if teachers have given them credit for answers without work. As math gets complicated there is more and more work that needs to be done, and if a student has bad habits of doing mental math, then this will be a hindrance to success. These are things that all students of higher mathematics should do: 1. Write the original problem down. When solving problems you want to make sure that you are staring at the actual problem. You don't want to look at your paper and then back to the book or sheet of paper that the problem is on. 2. Show your work just like your teacher does when they are introducing... read more

I used to be a great math student. It would come naturally me, I never really had to "study" for the tests to get my A's. This all took a turn when I took PreCalculus in Highschool. I remember getting my first test back and seeing a 67/100. I was horrified! I was in shock! When my mother found out, she repeated her famous line "Practice makes Perfect!" She made me sit down with my textbook. She made me start from page 1 of the textbook. She told me to read every single word on the page including the captions under the pictures. She also made sure I did every single example problem and all the practice problems, yes all 97 of them (that was just for one section of the chapter). After doing this for 2 days. I took my next math test. When my teacher was handing back the test I prayed I at least would get a B! But I was in for a surprise...I received 93/100. My teacher was so happy with my improvement she had put smiley faces all over the page! I couldn't believe... read more

If you get stuck doing homework problems often, have a hard time doing your classwork, or sometimes you just can't follow your lecture notes try going to Wolfram Alpha. Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine that is designed to handle mathematical problems and computation, and scientific problems. It has its limitations but it is a really awesome tool that gives a lot of detail when you need it. Try it out for yourself. http://www.wolframalpha.com

Dear Students and fellow tutors, There are so many resources out there to help you succeed in math. In fact, are there too many? If you do an internet search on a math topic (linear equations, for example) are you overwhelmed by the response? How many hours will you waste looking at bad web sites? OK, stop wasting time and go to the library to check out these books by mathematician and actress Danika McKeller: Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss Hot X: Algebra Exposed! Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape These books are written especially for girls, (but I know a boy or two that have read them). I hope she continues to write books all the way through calculus. You are good at math, perhaps you just don't know it yet. Cornelia

Over the past couple of years, I have found myself more and more often recommending graphing calculators for Algebra 1 students. This wizard instrument, capable of far more than I myself know how to tap into, works well with my tutoring style. However, I have seen firsthand what the consequences can be when students learn to use them without guidance. So many times, I have worked with high school upperclassmen and college students who cannot perform basic operations with fractions, graph by hand, evaluate an expression by hand, or perform addition and subtract with positive and negative integers because they became reliant on their calculators before ever properly learning the skills. These students usually lack the time or motivation to go back and learn how to do the skills by hand. Their courses move along rapidly and they need to spend their tutoring time keeping pace with the more advanced ideas. This is particularly unfortunate because these are the same skills they are most... read more

Playing a math game. Following a recipe. Building a science project, robot, or electronic kit... These are some ways to use hands-on learning activities to make science and math more interesting. This summer, for example, I have been using some new modules that include electronics/science of electricity, automotive engine technology, solar energy labs, etc. for "gifted", "average", and "special needs" students. And everybody loved the new study lessons. Even the ADD/ADHD students (myself included) stayed interested during entire lessons. I think we need more of this sort of thing in the schools. What do you think? If hands-on learning can keep the attention of ADD/ADHD students, it can work for other students too! I enjoy watching students learn through interactive games that utilize technology. For example, we like to race the clock and fill in math and science puzzles. There are many active ways to make learning more interesting, and before you know... read more

Hi, I'm a new tutor to this site. Within the past few days, I've been working on getting certified in as many subjects as possible. These are all of the subjects I'm certified to tutor in on the website. Most of the subjects are in math or science. Some are in English topics as well like in reading and writing, etc. I also am certified to tutor to prepare for a lot of standardized tests and a few common computer software programs people use. Please read my profile if you need a new tutor in the Hillsboro or Portland area! -Ann

The new school year beckons - be it middle or high school, college or post graduate study. Fall college visits, applications and essays are also just around the corner. Get a jump on what you or your child may need in terms of support for specific academic subjects, computer skills, standardized tests (SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, GRE, etc.). I look forward to continuing my track record of success with students to assist them in maximizing their potential and achievements. David

A few things that I did as a child and which I have found help the students with whom I work prepare for the new school year are: reading many genres daily, doing crossword and other pencil-and-paper puzzles daily, reviewing the notes from the past year, and keeping a journal of all activities and daily occurrences. Subscribing to new journals and magazines in July also is great because by the time September rolls around, the student is anticipating an arrival and is anxious to share the contents of the publication/publications with peers.

The worst thing for a student can be summer vacations. The last thing on their minds is to keep up on what they learned throughout the previous school year. They want fun, freedom, excitement. None of these are often used by students to describe learning or school. However, it is important to their continued mental development that they maintain their level of understanding from school year to school year. Too much time is lost at the beginning of each school year trying to catch back up. This slipping backward can be avoided by doing simple skills every day during summer vacation. Math students should continue to work on math problems throughout the summer. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division can be done easily without pen or paper. A trip to the store or gas station can be a quick quiz for most elementary math students if a motivated parent or sibling is willing to ask them questions. Fun and entertaining math problems can be found online as well that can engage a... read more

I will be beginning my 12th year as a Middle School teacher. I've taught grades 6, 7, and 8. I've taught Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, and Life Science. In addition, I'm working my 2nd year as a summer camp instructor, in Broward County Florida, and tutor a middle school student in math. My goal as a student's tutor is not simply to teach the subject material, but to increase the student's confidence in the subject as well. I would love the opportunity to demonstrate my skills in working with your child. Thank you. Emil K.

Summertime ... swimming, reading, barbeques, hanging with friends. Summer jobs and going out after work. Yet for some, schoolwork and studying are a big part of our summer agenda. No matter what time of year you are studying, it is crucial to know when to stop and take a break. Forcing your attention past your limit will not be productive. If you can't summarize what you just read, you have read too long. If you are making more mistakes on your math homework, it's time to do something else. What's your ideal study session? It might be an hour or two, or it might be only 20 minutes. Stick to the length of time that works best for you. When you come back refreshed, you will learn more easily. Get into the slower summertime pace. When the fall comes, remember to stop studying and do something else, even if only for a few minutes. Your brain will thank you.

I enjoy virtual communication, so for the purpose of reaching a broader client base, gaining more control over schedule for both tutor and student, reducing travel times, coordinating meet spots, reducing meet/greet apprehension, changing session ability, increasing a tutoring group size and at the same time increasing total revenue by decreasing individual fees, to me, virtual makes good sense.

More than most people who do not understand a little bit about algebra would ever guess; so I am going to answer the above question in this blog. Introduction and background My degree is in Engineering Physics and I have always been fascinated by space and astronomy and communications. I was a licensed amateur radio operator at 17 and my amateur radio knowledge of the frequency spectrum coupled with my degree in physics guided me in my investigation into the possibilities of interstellar space communications using simple algebra! So let start with the basic algebra (ten minutes at most). Definitions: x = distance units (meters, miles, kilometers it does not make any difference in algebra as long as one uses consistent units) t = time (seconds, hours, days, years) Velocity = x/t e.g. (x meters/t sec) That is all the algebra you need to know! Here is all the Physics needed: The velocity of light has a special name c which replaces v; therefore... read more